Response to The Future of Books for Publishers and Booksellers

Richard Nash at Soft Skull was nice enough to post my response to a a speech called “The Future of Books for Publishers and Booksellers” by Mike Shatzkin that he’d linked to on his blog. I had wanted to post a comment in response (but the technology of comments for blogs is confusing which is one of the many reasons that hosted blogs such as Blogger are such a free and sweet deal.) My own blog runs on Moveable Type on its own server and my brief attempt to run comments here was such a horrible failure (I still have thousands of SPAM posts I’m lugging around) that I turned them off. I didn’t miss them, really, because only two or three people ever commented on my site. Instead more people (and those same people) email me, and posting relevant responses seems more in line with whatever I’m doing here which is mostly a kind of proto-blog anyway. My posts are too long and infrequent. But Soft Skull is interested in getting comments to work on his site. If you know how, maybe you could help him?

I also mention in my response something that Maria Massie, the agent for Lydia Millet and for a while Stephen Dixon, said to me about writers who publish too much. She said they should publish a book every six years or so, (or some time frame like that) so that each book could be an event. I think she was a fine literary agent and did what she could with my own work. And perhaps me for me she was actually telling me something — some writers should publish every six months. Other writers, well, we would all appreciate it if they took a lot longer, like forever. I don’t know. My consistently poor and peevish relationship with literary professionals has led me to believe that it is probably better if I approach the whole enterprise as an amateur effort.

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