So much for the literary gatekeepers…


Here’s how it used to work:

1. Struggling writer rakes up astronomical school loans to achieve BA, MFA, attend workshops, etc.

2. Struggling writer sends hundreds of submissions out to small presses and waits to hear back from them. For six months to a year. No simultaneous submissions.

3. After a couple of handfulls of the S.W.’s pieces are published for free in literary magazines, the writer goes shopping (begging) for an agent.

4. Agent finds a few paying gigs for the S.W., while the writer keeps writing. At this point, the S.W. may actually be able to quit one of his three full-time jobs.

5. More publishing, more money, time to upgrade to an agent with better connections (repeat begging from step 3).

6. The years fly past, and the S.W. is graying at the temples. Agent finally has a publisher who “shows interest” in the book.

7. Publisher picks up the book, offers advance, S.W. finally pays off school loans.

8. Struggling writer is now on the shelves at Barnes and Noble and such, where he makes the rounds signing books and hopes for university speaking gigs.

Here’s how it works now:

4 thoughts on “So much for the literary gatekeepers…

  1. Something about old wine in new wineskins. And about how trying to cram the flotsam and jetsam of new media into the structure of an old media is just silly, and probably a good way to hasten the end of the old.The old way sucked. The new way might be the end of civilization as we know it.

  2. One of the commenters on that article said the same thing – the book would be on the remainder shelf inside of two months. The nature of web publishing is timeliness, and print just can’t get it out there fast enough. In the time it takes that fellow to get his book out, he could publish 150-200 posts. I’m pretty pleased about cutting out all the middle men, though. I’ll bet he takes that advance and cackles all the way to the bank. I would.

  3. I could always auction it off on Ebay. Maybe work out a trade – a blog for a script cursive Olympia SM7 typewriter. In pink.Any takers?

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