Sofia Quintero posted this link on Facebook and I thought some of you might be interested. It’s an interview with Ron Kavanaugh, founder of Mosaic Magazine, in which he discusses the viability of the Kindle, the future of literary fiction, and the seeming dominance of “street lit.” Here’s a taste:
A: I would like to answer this without mentioning Street lit. That’s a straight supply-demand issue and can’t be changed unless we address consumer demand.
I still believe literary writers are going to have to carve out a space where they can create, support, distribute, and monetize their work. This either means we start our own publishing, distribution network, and marketing companies, or stay with the existing publishers and take on the full responsibility of selling/marketing books.
If publishers are going to continue to spend less on marketing then they should give a larger percentage of the revenue to the writer. Major publishers are struggling and I’m sure a new model that gives the writer a smaller, or no, advance and bigger share of revenue will catch on. Publishers are also going to have to change the way they think about book production and distribution. Micro print runs will have to be the norm –50-100 books at a time. There are far fewer bookstores to distribute to, and publishers will probably end the practice of accepting returns from bookstores, which will lead to reduced print runs.
Or, literary writers can self publish. Not as attractive; literally a full-time job. Probably on top of your existing full-time gig. I still believe literary writers will not leave the safe confines of the traditional publishers because it will opt them out of potential book reviews in high-end publications and lessen their award consideration. So smaller print runs, small advances, increased self marketing, and increased profit sharing.
On a different note…this image, Uptown Babylon by Bus, was taken by Ray A. Llanos. I picked it up at the Studio Museum, which I visited this past weekend. This image resonates with me b/c after giving a workshop to a group of children last week, a parent came up and told me she’d read A Wish After Midnight, really enjoyed it, but found two errors–EEK! So, I am deeply indebted to Sonia for showing me the error of my ways…on the same page I screwed up twice: in the Bible, Judah is the SON of Jacob, not his brother…and the colors of the Rastafarian religion are red, green, and gold, not red, black, and green. Yet, as you can see from this photo, the two color schemes are related…the Rastafarian movement is closely linked to the UNIA started by Marcus Garvey in the 1920s, and the colors of the UNIA were red, black, and green. But the colors of the Ethiopian flag are red, gold, and green, and so those colors were adopted by Rastafarians. There are further differentiations, which my friend Sayida is patiently breaking down for me…don’t know how I could be so careless, but I added an insert to the back of all the copies of Wish I had on hand. If you’d like an insert for your book, just let me know…live and learn!