So it came to pass, lo, a mountain of electronic “books” were published worldwide each year. Hardbacks, paperbacks, all that former sentimental physical press history shrank into a tiny drivel of archival preservation. The blunt new truth was the so-called “book” was now an electronic text read on an electronic instrument. Everyone in the world could publish text. Almost everyone did.
The challenge for writers of electronic texts was to find an audience and build on it. Especially for writers of text who wanted to be paid in electronic credits deposited to their electronic bank accounts. After all, that was the definition of a ‘professional writer’…getting those currency credits. Herein are the tortured guts of the market consumption of texts: those who want to be paid social money credits (and a few intellectual credits tacked on for good show). But keep the chow train going. A scribe has to eat and so far, electronic food, well, it’s a mean lean meal.
The electronic web at this soon to be reached point of publishing…well, you can imagine: it’s going to be a nasty war out there to make a paid living for writing and transmitting e-texts around the globe (maybe into colonies on the Moon and Mars).
For the radicals and anarchists and hermits, it probably won’t matter much who succeeds financially. They will reject such crass concerns. Writing into the ever expanding E-Slush Pile is a moral right and privilege, not to be denied by anyone.
Once denied by publishers, editors and critics, the slush pile publications, the great unwashed, the geniuses, freaks, schizos, world conquerors, puppets, psychotics and undiscovered talents, all in fact, the whole sum of the e-publishing networld, this will be the undifferentiated Mass. And who, may we gently ask, who will play gatekeeper and rater of quality of these billions of text issued worldwide each solar day/night? Who will step up and play critic? Who will find the so-called sweet two percent that justifies news about publication? Who will accept a corps of critical texts that serve to rate and rank the writers and texts in terms of worthiness?
These islands of recommended quality, more e-text themselves, will be those critical surfaces where favored texts are modeled for all to read. Cliques. Favored status. Elites. Tribes of good taste.
But these will come and go and meanwhile the tsunami of e-text publication will wash away at the limited exposure of one group’s favored, fair-haired. Literary class warfare.
And it will lead to self-erosion and a greater drift toward anonymity and freedom to write when and how you want.
So to all those writers out there struggling with the old trade book dilemmas, hung up on “making it’ in the paid, commercial fashion, take a deep breath and get ready to enjoy the freedom of nonattachment. Step back and watch the fishes play!
a crass commercial from this author still caught in a marketing age :
http://www.jimstallings.com see my latest BOOK: “Difficult People: Flash Fictions”: 172 short short stories for adult storybook reader. Stop on by and climb Slush Mountain!