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1000 Black Lines

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Write Stuff : The Economics of Writing : 1

As stated last week, this is a bit controversial: writing contests are bad business for both writers and publishers... why is this bad business for publishers? read more »

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  1. Blogger Britt | 8:11 PM, March 05, 2007 |  

    Matt, I'm curious how you might ever think writing an publishing poetry could ever be "economic" or in anyways "profitable" for anyone - artist or publisher... I see poetry as a completely different animal.

    : )

    And how, in this world of glutted-publishing-market might one garner attention w/o some sort of prize or award to set one apart?

    This is an extremely cantankerous comment, I know. I don't mean to be a PIA, but I'd be curious as to your opinion for poetry in specific.


    really - I'm just interested in a good debate

  2. Blogger 1000 black lines | 8:51 PM, March 05, 2007 |  

    I’m being a PIA myself and intentionally controversial. I’ve been thinking along these lines for quite awhile and this is a way of examining my writing/publishing strategy.

    First, economics is the social study of production, distribution and consumption of goods and services. Poets, writers, and publishers produce literature. It is distributed via publishers and booksellers to consumers (readers, book buyers, librarians) of the goods and services.

    Again, I'm being controversial because I know most readers equate profitability with economics--economics is the thermometer not the thermostat.

    Regarding contests and prizes; lotteries are successful because they attract financially desperate or irresponsible people. Yes, there are people who actually win lotteries but not because of merit. It is my opinion that much of the literary institutes that provide literary contests are perpetuating this cycle. They are not genuinely awarding prizes to worthy winners. They simply need money. In 2005 Winnow Press made several hundred contestants angry (and asking for their entry fees to be refunded) because "no manuscript was worthy of the award." This is not the first time this has happened in recent history.

    I don’t think I answered your question, but I’m getting a bit tired and will have to resume this tomorrow.

  3. Blogger 1000 black lines | 10:00 AM, March 07, 2007 |  

    I understand that the publishing market is congested with so much poorly written work. That is the result of publishers trying to run a successful business.

    I remember talking with a young writer who said he read that it won't be long until everyone in America has written a book. This increases the odds of being recognized on the vast playing field of poets and writers.

    One thing I learned several years ago about the publishing industry is the necessity placed on "genres." This is done to help direct book buyers to bookshelves pertaining to their reading interest. It also helps the publisher market books. Almost 50 years ago that didn't exist for two reasons:
    1) most books were hardcover and too expensive to purchase by most middle-class Americans and
    2) Mass-market book-selling didn't exist (i.e. Borders, Books-a-million, B & N, and others).

    In order for a publisher to continue in the publishing business they need to keep the presses running (even if a dozen books are financial wastes, one may be a best-seller).

    How does an emerging poet/writer attract readers to his/her work? That's something I will address in next week's Write Stuff post.

    (how's that for a teaser?)

  4. Anonymous Anonymous | 11:13 AM, March 23, 2007 |  

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. Blogger 1000 black lines | 11:24 AM, March 23, 2007 |  

    Sorry about the previous (deleted) icky spam "comment." That doesn't happen very often. So, I deleted it.

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