Has anything really changed for writers? - Andrew Crofts

I am off to the Cheltenham Festival on October 5th to chat about
Andrew Crofts
self-publishing at a workshop organised by Alison Baverstock, who runs the publishing course at Kingston University and is author of the excellent “The Naked Author”. Details of the event can be found here http://www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/literature/whats-on/2013/write-away-1-self-publishing/

     I also attended an interesting workshop on digital publishing at the Groucho Club the other day, organised by the folk at The Literary Platform. It seems the whole world is searching for the secret key to the door of best sellerdom, but apart from the fact that we can now conjure our books into physical existence in a way we previously had to persuade publishers to do for us, nothing much has really changed in the 40 years that I have been earning my living as a scribe.
     We still have to write stuff that people want to give up their time to read, and we still have to find a way to get it to their attention. We are all of us only on this planet for a limited time and can only read/watch/listen to a limited amount of stuff during that time, but still we all produce more and more for everyone else to read.
     Perhaps we should just relax and write the things we really want to write for ourselves, just like most painters just paint the pictures they want to paint, without ever imagining they can turn themselves into Damien Hirst or Tracey Emin.
     If we actually want to support ourselves with our writing, we still have to put ourselves out to hire as journalists, copywriters, ghostwriters and every other kind of writer for rent; all the same stuff I have been doing for the last forty years and will probably continue to do till my last breath. Nothing has actually changed except that we are now able to print our work and make it available for discovery in ways we couldn’t before – no-one is ever going to be able to change the fundamental laws of supply and demand and even if the doctors find ways for us to double our lifespans we still won’t have time to read everything that we want to.


Nick Green said…
Indeed. I always think of William Blake and his Songs of Innocence. Not only did he write all those poems and paint all those pictures, but to get the book published he had to print it himself, and to do that he had to invent an entirely new print process single-handedly, and physically print each book himself.

And it still sold hardly at all. And he was a genius. I think of him whenever I feel hard done by.

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