TOC 2011: Margaret Atwood, "The Publishing Pie: An Author's View"

15 thoughts on “TOC 2011: Margaret Atwood, "The Publishing Pie: An Author's View"

  1. Ms. Atwood said many fun, interesting things. But one sticks, so obvious it seems trite, yet it's never answered by google-types … "could Virginia Woolf, Marcel Proust, and James Joyce be published in any format today?" The novel, Atwood's art form, survives and thrives in genres. Soft, semi, and hard core romance, fantasy, and teen books dominate brick and mortar aisles and are self-publishing fan favorites. Novels like Atwood's still appear, but fewer and fewer great authors break through. If Faulkner went to Hollywood for cash, then Joyce and Proust could probably post on facebook. Faulkner went west bankrupt, but he was holding a Nobel prize. For the young or just undiscovered great writer, creative destruction truly is an oxymoron. 

    Instead of pretending that new technologies liberate the world to create equally, admit it redistributes power — from the US east cost to California, from old-school sharks to stock-option hyenas, from practical to imaginary. Almost all of the apps and platforms that excite tech audiences have nothing to do with writing. They're about sharing, getting multiple media forms, experiencing gimmicks. Bells and whistles. If Moby Dick was first published today, readers might be prodded with nautical hyperbole, apps that report on dwindling whale populations, and Melville's recipe for chowder. He barely got it published 135 years ago; today, forget about it.

  2. For those who WANT to publish themselves, but don't want to do the work other than writing, dreamfantastic hosts webfiction for you, doing all the work. check us out!

  3. "You can save money by designing your own cover." Well, I'm set! I tried to print a character sheet out once, and the printer went mental and it came out in alien. Best. Glitch. Ever.

  4. Google webcomicsnation. Comics people — in one of the most labor-intensive art forms — have been addressing ALL these problems and questions for over a decade. If the prose industry is finally on board with it — with such an important speaker — then the systems in place will work even more efficiently. Now if the San Diego Comicon and the Los Angeles Book Fair could leak together… :))

  5. WOW! Prose authors actually catching up with us comic book authors! Welcome aboard, folks — nobody can stop us now. Huh…. art…. she could do her own comic book, too…..

  6. She is such a Canadian icon that we sometimes take her for granted. Great to be reminded how brilliant she is and I was impressed about her insights into the impact of ebooks on the industry.

  7. I was eating a cheese sandwich as I was writing and listening to her. Oh well, I'll eat cake instead. :o)

  8. I was there and it was a great treat to see Ms. Atwood — gracious, witty, wise — and bringing us all an important message about the author's role in the digital revolution.

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