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heather webb
Lives in New England
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heather webb

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Hi all! It was great meeting so many of you last week. I love to connect with new writer buddies. Good luck with your WIPs. Hope to see you around. I'm on Twitter more often at :@msheatherwebb. I'd love to connect with you there as well.
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Ditto...what Crystal said
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Please join me and authors Betsy Franco and Anne Girard for the release of RODIN'S LOVER, a discussion about the Belle Epoque era and the political art scene, and more at a public Facebook event. Lots of prizes! See link for more details.
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Today Judith Starkston, author of HAND OF FIRE, talks writing and researching the ancient world, her coming project, and her favorite vice (among other fun tidbits) 
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Lisa Cohen has written a thoughtful and interesting rebuttal to a Guardian article that criticizes self-publishing.
 
My crit buddy  +heather webb  sent me a link to this Guardian article on self-publishing.

http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2014/may/29/self-publishing-revolutionary-reactionary-authorpreneurialism

And while I agree that self-publishing is, in a sense, reactionary, this does not diminish its importance to publishing in general.

Mr. Skinner's argument is contained here:

"Unfortunately, self-publishing is neither radical nor liberating. And, as revolutions go, it is rather short on revolutionaries. It is actually reactionary, a contracted version of the traditional publishing model in which companies, who produce for a wide range of tastes and preferences, are replaced by individual producers each catering to very narrow range."

I think he misses an extremely important point: That traditional publishing adds an additional layer of filtering between writer and reader in terms of creating and promoting an increasingly narrow range of content in the pursuit of the big commercial seller.

He goes on to say:

"But this [the democratization of publishing] both overestimates the barriers to traditional publication – the vetting and selection process may be deeply flawed, but every writer can submit a manuscript – and underestimates the constraints of the marketplace. It also fails to consider whether the democratisation of publishing produces a similar democratisation for the reader by making literary culture more open."

I think he sees a publishing paradigm that does not exist anymore (if it ever did) that functions to serve literary culture. It doesn't. It serves the shareholders and the drive for profit. Nothing more, nothing less. If you doubt that, then look at the history of market consolidation in publishing that has happened in the past decade.

Mr. Skinner also says:

"By definition, self-publishing is an individualistic pursuit in which each writer is both publisher and market adventurer, with every other writer a potential competitor and the reader reduced to the status of consumer."

I don't see how this is unique to self-publishing.  Marketshare is everything. Shelf space in bookstores is limited. Publishers are in competition for that space with every other publisher and every other book published. To believe that traditional publishers are in the business to create a shared literary space where all books sit around a campfire singing Kumbaya is idealistic in the extreme. One only has to look at the problem of the mid-list writer and the series death-spiral to understand this.

Again, Mr. Skinner:

"[Self] Publishing then becomes timid, fearing to be adventurous and revolutionary lest it betray the expectations of its market. This is a natural tendency in traditional publishing but it is one restrained by the voices of its authors who are free to put their work first and entrepreneurship a distant second."

Again, I'd invite Mr. Skinner to speak with any number of writers who have had to utterly reinvent themselves down to changing their pen names in order to get their books published and on bookstore shelves because their sales numbers are poison.

Mr. Skinner continues:

"The risks that are an inescapable part of an industry where every book is a gamble make traditional publishers very conservative. But they are far more liberal, far more radical than self-publishing in its current form. Cross-subsidies from commercial titles support poets, academics and writers of new and daring literary fiction who will never appear on bestseller lists."

Again, I wonder about the fictional view of publishing he holds. Ask that vanishing breed - the mid-list writer - how that cross-subsidation program is going. Ask the debut writer whose work is rejected by editor after editor no matter how well written because the publishing house sees the title as un-marketable. The fact that self-published books are finding their audiences means that readers want the choices that are being presented to them. How is this a bad thing? If publishers published a wider diversity of books, readers would be buying them.

Skinner's final point compares self-published writers to Ayn Randian Objectivists:

"The individualism of the self-publishing authorpreneurs, is disturbingly close to Ayn Rand's Objectivism, in which the greatest goal is individual fulfilment. . . .

If self-publishing is to be a radical and revolutionary force it will be forged by creative collectives, groups of committed writers and artists who inter-publish, contributing to the publication not just of their own work but of the work of the others in the group across diverse genres and literary forms."

This argument simply makes no sense to me. Creaters create. They create because they are driven to create. They do not create to contribute to some mythical creative/literary culture. By definition, creatives are individuals. But that does not make them "reject[s] community and mutual responsibility" in persuit of personal success without regard to anyone around them.

And I would invite Mr. Skinner to spend a little time on Google Plus or other social networks where indie authors are gathering for mutual  support, encouragement, and collaboration. That true democratization he fears is being destroyed by indie publishing? It's flourishing.
Trumpeted as a democratic broadening of the publishing field, 'authorpreneurialism' actually narrows the world of reading and writing
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My agent dishes on all kinds of goodies at The Deb Ball today!
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Tuesday of AGENT WEEK at The Debutante Ball and up today--Brandi Bowles!
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Love women? Love artists?  I'm co-hosting a charity event in San Francisco next month, April 17th at 6:30 p.m. at the Monaco Hotel. Free event, open to the public (men & women!). If you can't come, pease consider DONATING to the cause by following the link below to GoFundMe. It will benefit WomenArts (http://www.womenarts.org/) charity and, ultimately, women artists who struggle to follow their passions and make ends meet. For more information on the event, once again, click, click, click below.

I can't thank you enough for your contributions!
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In honor of Halloween, read thrilling snippets and leave comment to win loads of free books, audio books, chocolatey goodness and more!
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A five star, gushy review of Becoming Josephine from Portland Book Review made my day (and my week!). So excited to share it here!
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Rounding up Agent week, we welcome Elizabeth Kracht to The Deb Ball today!
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Continuing AGENT WEEK at The Debutante Ball with Christina Hogrebe of the Jane Rotrosen Agency. She answers all your questions!
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It's AGENT WEEK at The Debutante Ball and we're hosting a different agent each day. Stop in with questions!
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In her circles
286 people
Have her in circles
1,937 people
France Booktours's profile photo
Barb Drozdowich's profile photo
Jennifer Leo's profile photo
John Yeoman's profile photo
chris myers's profile photo
Pete Catalano's profile photo
Susan Roebuck's profile photo
J.D. Guy's profile photo
Zeke Miner's profile photo
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Author, Editor, Blogger
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Female
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Author of historical fiction for Penguin. Becoming Josephine and forthcoming Rodin's Lover (Jan 2015). Editor. World traveler & culture junkie. Foodie in training. Live and die by wine & anything French
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Blogger and Twitterer for WriterUnboxed.com and RomanceUniversity.org. Member of the Historical Novel Society & the Women's Fiction Writers Association
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New England