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The Back Alley of Publishing

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I admit, hesitantly, that I've rubbed elbows with some editors, producers and other people in the arts and entertainment industry who are not artists or entertainers.   I once pitched a screenplay involving werewolves, zombies and crime fighting teens, years ago, before the recent surge of interest in such.   The reviewer shot my pitch down based on the fact that no one had done such a movie in years and that no one was interested in the concepts of vampires, werewolves and zombies.   I still have the script anyway, of course now the guy would say that such subject matter had its time and was now passe'.   I conversed with several publishers and editors at a writing conference once who essentially disclosed to me how the publishing industry was being killed because of the flood of authors the digital age enabled along with the ability to print on demand cheaply and easily combined with outlets like Amazon.   Basically they separated fine literature, defined by being published by established institutions, from the swarms of independent authors and presses.

    Bottom line: the people in the arts and entertainment industry are not concerned with arts and entertainment as much as they are industry.   Often they don't know what they are talking about.   And they disdain alternative to their industry.   Digital publishing and the easy access to print on demand literature has changed the industry completely and the traditionalists see it as killing not only business, but the art and entertainment itself.   But even the industry can't stop art and entertainment.   

    It reminds me of the story of rap in the Bronx.   Surely nearly the entire music industry rejected and scoffed at what was to be the music of generations.   Surely the first time producers saw a block party in the Bronx, where two turntables and a microphone connected to a streetlight they didn't think they could make a global industry from it.   Now rap and hip hop is global.   And at first they, they being those in the arts and entertainment industry who were not artists or entertainers, called it black music.

    Now they try to say that independent digital publishing is different from their traditional publishing format.   The only thing the traditional arts and entertainment industry has that independents do not have is money for production and most importantly, when it comes to literature, is money for marketing one's creativity.   Where consonance and dissonance originates, in either the back alley or the front office, you never know.  

    Independent publishing is definitely the back alley of the publishing world.   And certainly there is some serious blather among it, not worth paying for or paying attention to.   Independent publishing, digitally and print on demand is absolutely akin to a block party in the Bronx, with two turntables and a microphone that forever changed the world.  

    I published three books now, two just digitally.   I have a fourth about to drop.   And I am proud I've done so mostly, without the assistance or more importantly without the interference of anyone in the arts and entertainment industry.   Each one I sell is a success tenfold because I don't have the likes of Random House backing me up.   Each one I sell is a success like moving mixtapes back in the day, in the back alley.   So perhaps the only flaw of digital and independent publishing is that it is raw.   But this rawness is indicative of creativity of the highest order that which was unaltered and unobstructed by the arts and entertainment industry.   That is serious.   I still would like to sell my werewolf zombie script to a Hollywood producer though.

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About Ethan Indigo Smith:


Activist, author and Tai Chi teacher Ethan Indigo Smith was born on a farm in Maine and lived in Manhattan for a number of years before migrating west to Mendocino, California. Guided by a keen sense of integrity and humanity, Ethan's work is both deeply connected and extremely insightful, blending philosophy, politics, activism, spirituality, meditation and a unique sense of humor.

The events of September 11, 2001 inspired him to write his first book, The Complete Patriot's Guide to Oligarchical Collectivism, an insightful exploration of history, philosophy and contemporary politics. His more recent publications include:

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

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