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Friday, February 05, 2010

The Literary-Anarchist's Cookbook

Literary writers are at a disadvantage compared to other writers. Serious writing isn't considered performance art. Writing that fails is jeered at for having bathos and unintentional farce. This, as Horkheimer and Adorno say, is the genesis of stupidity. Just as the snail's horn retracts upon a touch, so too does the literary writer retract from the stage, for fear of heckling. Writers then obsess over details, fearful that the next time they show a piece, the writer will be mocked again. This stifles creativity and pulls the author out of the timestream of current events. This is why I advocate same-day publishing on relevant topics. Bad prose is ephemeral; great writing is perennial. If the audience can see the evolution of a composition, they can better appreciate the process of composition. In one of my Norton Anthologies, there's a section with the early drafts of famous poems. We instinctively know that those are valuable, prima facie. But when it comes to our own compositions, we believe it is arrogant to trot out our b sides. Well, is that for us to determine? Should the market decide that? If someone loves a specific composition I've written (like Haitian Fright Song) in its final form, wouldn't he or she be interested to see what it used to look like? I am interested in Blake's drafts of The Tyger, whether he might think I would be or not. In an era where we are going paperless, it's important that drafts are not disintegrated—dropped down the memory hole. In an era of performance, with a vehicle like the web and the infrastructure of blogs already established, I think there is the possibility to add enough time-pressure for there to be a performance quality to online posts. I think that there are idiots who write like shit out there who make six figures or more a year off their shit writing on their blog. Weedy species colonize a space first, but then hardier species follow. Literary writers are the hardier species. But the big names won't move to self-publishing because of the stigma attached to the endeavor. However, a talented nobody has nothing to lose. This brings me to my next point: the institutional disconnect between publishers and writers is vaster than ever. They pay us shit, they tell us to fuck off most of the time, and in the end, all they are is a marketing company that distributes books and serves as a middleman. Who needs them? Why, exactly are they good for my reputation? I can sell 1/10 the books they can to make the same amount of money.

Oh, they have marketing. Exactly my friends. Which is why this needs to be a movement. Turn blogs to literary stages, as we have already done on craigslist. Make the performance live. The finished product will be like all finished products that have ever been: but there will also be performance and that is an added vector of excitement for an audience—as we've seen on craigslist. So an added component: this idea germinated on craigslist and I'm sure many of the regs and oldtimers there will participate in this project (especially to attach their names to the first major literary development since post-modernism). I know from personal business experience the power of affinity marketing. A good reputation travels quickly. Therefore, a webring will increase the number of hits on favorite participating sites. I know that with five other people, this could work. The web presence would be deep and we could become the huffingtonpost of literature. Best of all, it's not like we can be circumvented. I am so happy to know that anyone trying to rip-off Toylit is in violation of my registered copyright thanks to the steps I mentioned below. We can tap into those media profits ourselves and distribute ourselves and quit wasting our lives trying to please some poodle-walking shit from New York. There has always been a war between the author and the publisher: with market forces at one pole and at best, a Promethean vision at the other. While nothing tactically is new in this guide, I believe its strategic vision IS new. I believe that creating a cadre of solid writers will make our own clique and equivalent of a litmag. With enough time and talent, there might even be a real income-stream from this. Wouldn't that be interesting?

1)Go to any blog site. Toylit uses blogspot, but I suppose any will do.
1.You should have a Google account (all hail Google) as it will make subsequent steps easier.
2)Register your blog and format it to taste.
3)Set up an adsense account. It's simple. Follow directions. Then you can track impressions which will help you see whether people like what you're doing, or not.
4)Set up a feedburner account. This is critical, because otherwise your blog will be isolated from news feeds.
5)Stream your blog to your feed. After much thought, I've decided it's better to let newsreaders scan the entire post, because you will be securing your copyright every day if you follow my method.
6)Set up a lulu account.
7)Format your print edition before you begin to write so that the time lapse between your original post and that day's edition is minimized.
8)Write your composition and post it—warts and all.
1.At first, this step is painful, because there's bad writing out there in public. Over time, the revisions will make early versions look interesting. I absolutely think that the revised Toylit is a fine and complete book of poetry, made more interesting by the fact that I wrote one poem a day, while also revising prior comps.
9)Publish on lulu, with or without ISBN. I think you shouldn't let them market for you on Amazon, because then they're just raping your profits. Lulu is fine for magazines. Once purchase volume increases enough, you'll want to just pay your own printer for special runs of complete and revised compositions.
1.Readership, by witnessing your process of creation, will read the same composition twice, because they will be interested in how you fixed the problems in your earlier drafts.
10)The idea is to pool litfo's affinity networks together through cross-linking and so forth—but really, anyone can do it with any clique of friends. This will also raise everyone's prominence in page-rankings. Within a week, I think given everybody's affinity networks, we'll have at least 1k readers between us. That's the equivalent of a small start-up lit mag. And it will only grow as we achieve page-dominance in our various search fields. Of course, I happen to think that the best talents on litfo are critical for this venture to fly, so not just any monkey can do this. Otherwise they'd be doing it.
11)So at first there will be stigma attached to this, but soon, everybody will do it. Publishers don't add enough value and take away too much control. This removes the middleman and lets producers and consumers contact each other directly. It will also make you slackers some bread. Instead of Kinko's, do just-in-time delivery and use lulu.

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