Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The New Pamphleteer

Here is something positive, new, innovative, and certainly an outlet for all writers and authors - especially those who keep Blogs and blog seriously. It just may prove to be a very viable form of publishing your works in your blog posts. It certainly is something to look at seriously and with an eye towards your own career.

The following recognized publishing and certainly is coming to terms with the wealth of writing and information in blogs as well. Indeed this is the first really serious venture to come along that seems to want to try and issue anthologies of important blog posts.

Our modest goal is nothing less than to reinvent the book for the 21st Century. By reviving the mid-length literary form - longer than an article, shorter and much cheaper than a book - The New Pamphleteer returns to the origins of publishing in order to find the future or print in a digital world.I recently came across this new venture which is being led by two publishing names - Adam Bellow and David S. Bernstein. The reason it caught my eye, is in the past, I had a wonderful experience with Adam Bellow and he is one person I know that whatever he is embarking on is legitimate and well thought out. So yes. I am a bit prejudice here. I happen to like Adam Bellow. He is an author and an editor. And despite the fact that I happen to know he does not like this association to be publicized as his claim to fame, it is important for this article - Adam Bellow is the son of the Noble Prize Winner in Literature - Saul Bellow. But Adam Bellow in his own right has achieved a great deal. And I strongly suggest any serious writer pay attention to this new venture. I am going to be quoting extensively from the CJRDaily article, but I strongly suggest you read it through. Then once you understand what is happening, if you have something to ask or something to offer go to The New Pamphleteer - where you can get more information on this new venture.

In the CJRDaily under the title "Adam Bellow, Pamphleteer for the 21st Century" we are introduced to this new-old concept of publishing. First let us quote CJR in terms of who Adam Bellow is and what he accomplished, so that those who do not know this man can see his credentials up front.
Adam Bellow, son of the novelist Saul Bellow, has been in publishing for the past twenty years and has earned a name for himself as an editor of famously controversial and conservative books like Illiberal Education, The Real Anita Hill, and The Bell Curve.
So what is "pamphleteering"?
Bellow wants to do this by bringing back the art of pamphleteering. In a series of 4-by-6 inch, $4 booklets with an average of 60 to 80 pages each, he hopes to create a new, affordable forum for presenting ideas. The significance for the blogosphere is that Bellow believes the Internet has become the central arena for intellectual debate in America, and it is from this source -- reprinting digests of blog posts or letting individual bloggers pull together collections of their writing -- that he hopes to harvest most of his material.
As an author, especially now when trying to get my short story collection, "Ancient Tales, Modern Legends" sold, I was very intrigued by the following statement of Mr. Bellow.
In the mid-nineties the publishing business experienced a profound shift, or retrenchment. It was called a "mid-list contraction," which was a euphemistic way of saying that big publishers were no longer going to publish books that were projected to sell any less than 10,000 copies. They mostly intended to prune their list of small first novels, little quirky books and literary fiction. But that also affected all the midsize publishers that were involved in intellectual publishing -- publishing about politics and ideas. In a very short time, this small group of publishers were either sold off, reinvented or shut down.
There is no doubt that this is an important, if not critical piece of information for any writer or author.

Now what happens if you are an author-writer-blogger? What happens if you do know how to write and create and disseminate information in your blogs but that it is impossible to break through to the giant "Blog" awareness? Mr. Bellow says:
My argument is that pamphlets answer those dilemmas. They address the publisher's dilemma and the blogger's dilemma. The pamphlet culture that is trying to emerge, which has been called into being by the ideological struggle of our time, is being hampered by the old paradigm, by the market constraints on publishers who cannot sell a small book unless they put it in hardcover and give it a price that makes it worth the cost of distribution. That's the publisher's dilemma. The blogger's dilemma is how do I get my voice heard. Not just in the blogosphere but outside it. From the bloggers point of view, there are precious few alternatives. Successful bloggers like Andrew Sullivan and Glen Reynolds can get newspaper columns and book deals. Occasionally they get profiled in a magazine. But most bloggers don't have that option because they don't have that kind of audience.

My vision, my hope, is to supply that editorial filter that everybody complains is missing from the Internet. I think someone needs to do that and I am electing myself.
Again I strongly suggest you read the entire article: Adam Bellow, Pamphleteer for the 21st Century and then go over to the web site: The New Pamphleteer.

Will it work? Will pamphlets be a new, viable alternative in the publishing industry? Only time will tell. BUT if anyone can pull it off it is Adam Bellow. That is for sure.

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