Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 11 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
Podcast    H4'ed 3/8/14

Anis Shivani: Top-Down and Bottom-up Publishing

Follow Me on Twitter     Message Rob Kall
Become a Fan
  (306 fans)

Broadcast 3/8/2014 at 20:28:08 (16 Listens, 9 Downloads, 1419 Itunes)
The Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show Podcast

Check out More Podcasts


listen on iTunes

listen on SoundCloud


View on Stitcher
View on Stitcher

Copyright © Rob Kall, All Rights Reserved. Do not duplicate or post on youtube or other sites without express permission. Creative commons permissions for this site do not apply to audio content or transcripts of audio content.

Copyrighted Image? DMCA

Anis Shivani critic, novelist, poet, essayist--

New book Literature in an age of globalization

The Fifth Lash and other stories

book poetry-- My Tranquil War and other poems

Literature in an Age of Globalization

Plastic Realism-- Neoliberal Discourse in American Fiction

Novel-- Kerachi Raj

Article in Daily Beast 5 Ways to Fix Book Publishing

rough notes from the interview-- mostly my questions

(these are provided to give you an idea what the audio is about, so you'll listen)

Rob: You wrote that publishing is a Top Down system, saying in your Dailybeast article:

" This model of literary production is doomed. The idea that there should be centralized, massively consolidated, bureaucratic organizations known as the major trade houses, with multiple layers of editors, vast publicity departments, and books fed to them by an entity known as literary agents, only to take repeated losses and rely on a few stars to help them break even, is bound for extinction."

"If book publishing is to survive, something drastic will have to occur. The technology already exists to make publishing a democratic venture, driven from the bottom up rather than the other way around."

Why did you write this and how do you live it?

Horrible ugly entities, commercial publishers becoming more and more centralized every day" with formulas...

B lack Lawrence Press (published Anatolia and Other stories)

Rob: "The crisis of publishing is really the crisis of writing and reading. The publishing industry today generally obstructs the free flow of energies between readers and writers. It is a broker for celebrity authors, taking the entire literary culture on a downward slope because the definition of "commercial" is constantly being dumbed down."

You say you are working with small publishers. WOuld you say these are the new kind of publishers that take the approach that you say is needed?

Raymond Hammond NYQ books

C&R press in tennessee (Chad Prevost and Ryan Van Cleefe)

Big publishers like to stick with safe formulas

can you talk about the five key principles you mentioned in your article?

I propose the following key principles for a major restructuring of the publishing industry:

1 Decentralization



4-smallness-- " Bigness is the bane of any creative or responsive activity, and publishing is no exception. There are simply too many books being produced by too many giant organizations that have little connection with reality anymore"" "Writing has become corrupted as a result of the pervasive hierarchies..."

5 risk: 

Anis: It makes no sense for top down decision makers deciding what to publish based on ideology. 

lack of synchronicity"

The things that need to happen will happen because of delegitimization-- will affect newspapers and network news, top-down publishing-- these institutions are not in synch with where the energies are coming from. 

The big publishers are not doing any good fiction at all. 

Some good books came out after 911

Big institutions get delegitimized on their own" that's the great thing about indy culture and this bottom up movement". is that people get choices...

Rob: You write: "In short, writing needs to be reader and community driven, hierarchies need to be radically flattened, creativity needs to be diffused at the local level, and globalization needs to reactivate literary worth everywhere.

"Admittedly, a lot of undeserved cultural authority will have to erode before this idealization can materialize."

I think this idealization depends upon the delegitimization.

Anis Shivani: "global outburst of creativity-- you have billions of new potential readers coming into the market, exerting a counterforce. 

Combine globalization with technology-- markets get completely redefined" think of a global literary marketplace. 

Rob: I think you're talking about a very different kind of globalization than the trade deal globalization that supports a few hundred transnational corporations. 

Anis Shivani: 

Rob: You've written about a new vision of liberalism

Rob: I don' think you're talking about a very different globalization than the one that trade agreements and transnational corporations want, with elimination of regulations and trade barriers.

Writing is what one does when one is all talked out. Sometimes, however, writing can be helped by talking it all out without the presumption of innocence. That's the connecting link in this book, the buoyant matrix of values that shows that writers are always best served by strong readers and that this is what the challenge of authorship is all about. 

you've written, in your next book, Plastic Realism Neoliberal Discourse In American Fiction

" unprecedented nexus of institutional forces that sever the connection between writer and reader and instead deliver a house style that confirms and validates larger trends in neoliberal political economy. "  


" dissident voices of any kind are being rigorously excluded and the final deliverance of literary fiction to corporatization is assuming completion. "

When I hear you talking about globalization-- you're talking about ideas. 

Anis Shivani: Fiction is victim of neoliberalism or the current manifestation of globalization" Jonathan Franzen's book, Freedom, illustrates neoliberal ideology in practice. 

justification of inequality, legitimizing ideology-- 

Rob: So, you are saying that the big, top-down publishers are selecting fiction that presents a neo-liberal vision of the world. if you offer a different vision, they don't publish you. 

Anis Shivani: Nearly all creative writing is" in academia" that's a removal and protection for creative people-- you don't have to be responsible to readers at all. You are only responsible to this ideology-- 

Rob: How do people find the writers that the mainstream, top-down publishers reject?

Anis Shivani: The gatekeepers try to do their job but their ways around it. 

Great press in Boston-- Black Widow Press Joe Phillips--  Put out Jerome Rothenberg reader.  Clayton Eshleman--

Rob: Are there bottom places where people can discover these kinds of writings.

Anis Shivani-- Best way is to go to writers that you like and trust-- writers with blogs share what they like

Rob: How does bottom up publishing look like for you? Why would someone go with a bottom up approach instead of a big publisher with a big advance?

Rob: do you make your living from your writing?  Can you pay your bills with your book sale royalties?  

Rob: How do you measure success in being published? What does success mean in a world where you published doesn't support you in making a living?

Rob: Are there awards for these non-mainstream, non-formulaic, non-neoliberal writings? Are there venues where writers  of this kind of writing can share ideas? 

Anis Shivani-- the awards have become incorporated into academia-- you have to have a pedigree, established in a credentialing system. That makes all the difference. 

Wherever you have awards they tend to be tainted. 

Fadi Joudah poet won Yale prize-- Canadian Griffin prize-- won for translation

Rob: You've also written about the writing workshop process. What are your thoughts there. 

Rob: If someone wants to learn to write, what DO you suggest?

Anis: a library card" 

Franz Wright is one of our greatest poets-- find people that you like. 

Rob: You've written for free, for sites like Huffingtonpost"

Anis: wrote one piece  on Huffingtonpost 15 most over-rated writers-- most read criticism article on the web. 

Rob: What are the current Formulas? What is non-formulaic?  Stories have basic forms"  

Anis: typical, does nothing, emasculated male character who lives in Brooklyn" likable, 

Neoliberalism-- Formula-- 911 novel-- 

Rob: what are some of the neoliberal formulas or elements that novels are expected to include or exclude.

personal redemption in poetry and fiction is a very neoliberal idea these days. 

Creating a concept of passive citizenship, accepting the existence of consmerism as a given" 

Rob- you're describing libertarianism and Ayn Rand kind of writing. 

Rob: so, you're saying that these formulas support the consumer, no-commons, no social support culture"

Anis: multicultural novels-- accept incredible unequal society-- neoliberal approach-- you should be happy with acceptance of your identity-- but it won't lead to any economic changes, won't lead to any re-distribution". the writing says we accept these parameters, we are okay with the system. That's a Faustian agreement. 

Rob: What about bottom-up marketing approaches to writing, like self-publishing e-books, fund-raising sites like indiegogo?

Anis: I have had in mind starting a press, at some point"  ..and a blog for criticism...

Rob: In an ideal world, what would publishing look like?

Anis: The best writing gets out there with the least about of friction and ideological obstacles and interference. 

Rob: What advice would you give to someone who is a writer-- ie., someone who must write, who cannot not write? 

There are no shortcuts in writing. You are in it for the long haul". 

Rob: what about writing and money? 

Anis: Don't expect money. Expect to starve, but you can have the happiest life. 

Live a life that is consistent with your writing. Then the writing becomes more honest too. If you live that kind of authentic life, then you can simplify-- give up things-- simplify tremendously-- there's so much stuff that can fall away and we.. don't miss it.  " see what's really important. " And every writer must have a cat. 

Size: 48,594,032 -- 1 hrs, 41 min, 13 sec


listen on iTunes

listen on soundcloud



Well Said 1   Supported 1   Valuable 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Rob Kall Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect, connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media. 

Check out his platform at

He is the author of The Bottom-up Revolution; Mastering the Emerging World of Connectivity  

He's given talks and workshops to Fortune 500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful people on his Bottom Up Radio Show, and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and opinion sites,

more detailed bio: 

Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization (more...)

Related Topic(s): ; ; , Add Tags
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Other Series: View All 32 Articles in "Writing and Story to Change, Wake Up The World"

To View Comments or Join the Conversation: