But now with the internet and blogs, we are all very much connected. And with digital books, that's also not needed as much.
What's a writer to do?
Some writers are taking things into their hands (a la' Walt Whitman) and self-publishing their books.
NPR had an interesting story on this morning about how the iPad (and Kindle) could help writers who don't want to go through a regular publisher. And it seems, self-publishing is not just for unknown writers, in fact, John Edgar Wideman (PEN/Faulkner Award winner/MacArthur Genius Grant winner) has just self-published his own book of short stories, Briefs, on Lulu.com.
You can read (or listen) to the whole NPR article here.
Here's a bit of it...
Take a writer like Mark Morford. Ten years ago, if Morford had written a book, he would probably sell it to a major publisher. He's got 50-thousand regular readers for his provocative column on the website of the San Francisco Chronicle. He took on the recent controversy around school text books in Texas with a column entitled, "Dear Texas, Please shut up. Sincerely, History."
He also has a forthcoming book, The Daring Spectacle, a collection of his columns. Initially, Morford did meet with agents, and he had a lot of interest from traditional publishers.
"I encountered a lot of excitement for the book," he says, "agents and publishers alike said, 'Yes this is a great idea. We like it.'"
But the book deals they offered book deals were not what they once were. There were no more big advances, and national book reading tours with stays in swanky hotels. Morford says he was told, "that whole idea has sort of vanished, has sort of gone away. There is no more marketing money."
Morford began to wonder if he even needed a big publishing house. He looked around and discovered a burgeoning industry of companies that help authors publish their own books in any format they like, from the traditional printed book to e-books and the Kindle, and now for the iPad. Morford decided to publish with a company called Bookmaster.
I know Reb Livingston has successful published quite a few books through Lulu.com. The Bedside Guide to the No Tell Motel can be purchased there along with her book, Your Ten Favorite Words.
Anyway, the world is a-changin' poets and writers. I'm interested to see how this all plays out.
I'd love hear others' experiences in regards to self-publishing--the good, the bad, the digital...