Tuesday, October 26, 2010

go independent

On Saturday I was talking with a financially successful (as in, the money she makes from her book sales and from teaching about writing are enough to support her) Bay Area poet who has just finished a memoir. She said she's hoping that her agent can find a publisher for the memoir that will offer her enough of an advance to pay off the money that she owes to her last publisher. She owes money to the last publisher because they signed her to a two book deal, paid an advance, and then rejected the second book. She'd spent the advance by the time the second book was rejected, and didn't have enough money to repay it.

I found this to be an eye-opening detail. I didn't realize that major book publishing houses are as shady as major record companies. It made me think of an article by Steve Albini (famous music engineer who recorded Nirvana's In Utero) in which he does the math and discovers that a typical major label deal, in which the band produces a gold record, will still result in the band being $14,000 in debt.

So, if you write or if you make music, go independent.

Monday, October 4, 2010

poetry videos

YouTube, because of its monstrous size, is actually an interesting place to visit when trying to hear old recordings of poetry as read by the poets themselves. There's a lot of potential in the simple blending of audio and video, and poetry is an art that fits well into this format. Here are two favorite examples of what can be done.