Welcome to December!
And now for the news.
Highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing:
The big news in self-publishing this week is, of course, about as politically charged and divisive as it gets. As such, we’re not going to get too deeply into the woods here, but simply point out that there’s some confusion over what self-publishing platforms, specifically, were at play. The Washington Post article linked here mentions self-publishing three times, each time going on to name Medium and “some other self-publishing platforms” or “other blogs and self-publishing platforms.” One can certainly use blogging platforms such as Medium to self-publish short form pieces like articles and short stories, but it’s not widely or at least entirely considered one and the same as other (legitimately and uncontestedly and solely) self-publishing platforms. This is because many self-publishing companies and websites offer proofing and editorial services or can otherwise check for deliberately spread misinformation, which would make them unlikely places to find something like the list mentioned in the news just now. All this to say—self-publishing can look like a lot of different things, and it’s articles like this that muddy the waters and lead to increased stigma.
Now that we’ve gotten the least fun and most unavoidable news out of the way, here’s a palate-cleanser! This article from Blake Morrison of The Guardian is everything we needed to remind us that yes, creative work is valuable, and yes, self-publishing is everything we need it to be right now—a force for good. Morrison addresses self-publishing’s place in the larger ecosystem of memoir-writing and publication, writing:
The outlets for publishing memoirs have diversified too. Small presses and the subscription publisher Unbound have widened the field. Self-publishing also plays a part, as does the internet: from online blog to book-length memoir is an obvious trajectory, since both are first-person discourse offering an intimate relationship with readers.
And while we thoroughly advocate for reading the whole article, we can think of no better way to end our article today than with a quote Morrison includes by author and memoirist Katherine Angel.
The memoirist will always be asked, with a hint of disapproval: was writing the book therapeutic? But to Katherine Angel, in her recent Daddy Issues, “it’s the wrong question. The more accurate formulation, for me, is that writing is how I experience my experience. Until writing, in mere living, everything is out of focus.”
“Until writing, in mere living, everything is out of focus.” The act of writing is an act of vision, and a way of framing the world for ourselves and others to re-envision their own choices and experiences. What more important work is there than that? What more important endeavor than the one self-publishing helps make possible?