The Beacon 2

Observatory

I was incredibly heartened to receive such great feedback from my item ‘The Beacon’, which I wrote from the heart and was a little uncomfortable about putting out in public, so thank you everyone. I’ve already made moves to translate this into positive action. The first step is the formation of a collective to bring fresh, untried talent into British genre writing – you’ll see stuff about that here in the coming weeks.

And thanks to my friend Mike Cane, I’m now looking into the economics of Print On Demand. Publishers and agents are still struggling to make sense of the copyright issues surrounding epublishing, and the creation of a fresh body of work that will only be available electronically is a step into unknown territory. But what we have is the ability to produce high-quality beautifully written work that readers will enjoy, at no great expense to ourselves. If you want to make plants grow, you need access to a well. Writers own the well. And now here’s a new system of taps we can use to spread the word.

I’m sitting in a coffee shop typing this, and the guys on the next table have used the word ‘marketing’ six times since I sat down, and ‘brand recognition’ four times. Let them have their meetings, imagining they’re reconforming the business world. They can be the managers, we’ll do the writing.

We own the well. All we have to do is keep it filled. Watch this space.

7 comments on “The Beacon 2”

  1. J. Folgard says:

    Hey, godspeed!

  2. Steve says:

    The Indie movement in music was fired up years ago by the complete idiocy and greed of the major labels. What you’re proposing seems to be the beginning of a very real rebellion against the vested interests of the major publishing houses. Lets hope it brings them at least to the brink of ruin, as is happening with the major labels in the music world!

  3. Here’s to the well. Keep on pumping!

  4. Mike Cane says:

    Oh. My. God. Chris, “Writers own the well.” is absolutely BRILLIANT!!!

  5. Mike Cane says:

    And let me point you to Warren Ellis’s experiment (which I’m sure will balloon once he pimps it again after the iPad is out!) —

    http://www.warrenellis.com/?p=7931
    http://www.warrenellis.com/?p=7986
    http://www.warrenellis.com/?p=8402

  6. mikenicholson says:

    Chris – You may recall that I illustrated your ‘The Lady Downstairs’ for BBC iBooks some years ago (good God – FIVE years ago) – indeed see your late 2008 back catalogue of bloggery for an (disappointingly UNCREDITED!?) example of same. After The Years That Passed In The Blink Of An Eye I have recently dug into the Bryant and May books I had stockpiled (beginning with ‘Seventy Seven Clocks’ (bloody wonderful, so very good and rich in fun and social history all at once) – and am looking forward to upcoming volumes greatly. The ‘Beacon’posts are – as most of your thoughts appear to be – telling it like it is, pure and simple. A parallel career of mine has been storyboarding, and I have witnessed the chicanery and swollen egos lurching through the stairwells of Soho House and Groucho at first hand, while ‘passing through’ various overheated, over-egged evenings discussing dire projects.
    Most recently I make graphic short stories (text and image, cheaply reproed, biographical) and market them through book fairs, internet and word of mouth – the phenomenon of the ‘artist’s book’ expands and barrels along and provides many outlets, representing an alternative to the Publishing Industry which I have witnessed at, for instance, the London Book Fair (monolithic, corporate, chilly). It’s lovely to hear a successful, published (and clearly beloved) writer – if not bite – at least nip and gnaw at the industry that commodifies and compartmentalizes talented wordsmiths so depressingly. Creativity as brand, ideas to be marketed – tiring and demeaning stuff. All power to your pen (or tapping fingers), Sir.
    The Old Rogue Harlan Ellison has some very amusing and typically outspoken comments on the abuse of the artist – in his case writer – in a short filmed piece you can find on Youtube under the title ‘Harlan Ellison – Pay The Writer’. “I sell my soul – but only at the highest rates”. I show this to my (graphic design/illustration) students at any given opportunity
    GREAT blog, Chris.
    (Now how’s about that credit?)

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