Conversations on the Future of Publishing

September 2, 2012 by Thad McIlroy

Finn Harvor, a Canadian writer and artist living in South Korea, publishes a blog called Conversations in the Book Trade. He’s interviewed Rolf Maurer, publisher of New Star Books, noted journalist Ian Brown, Richard Nash from his Soft Skull days, provocateur Edward Champion and numerous others. Harvor asks each interviewee mostly the same questions and so I found myself pondering issues such as whether literary prizes reduce our ability to think in a critically complex fashion (they do, but the benefits outweigh the problems).

I also confront the old bugaboo about whether authors must have web sites (and by extension, a web presence on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and more). Fortunately Dan Blank had just published his post about Susan Orlean and her recent talk at Boston’s Grub Street. She puts it so well:

“I didn’t say ‘I want followers.’ I am a writer, I write because I want to be read. Because the private act of writing doesn’t feel sufficient to me. What is sufficient is for the circle to come around, and to feel heard. I am excited by the idea of being heard. Of making someone think or laugh.”

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