A Portrait of the Author as a Publicist

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“[T]he electronic highway is for bulletin boards on esoteric subjects, reference works, lists and news….Nobody is going to sit down and read a novel on a twitchy little screen. Ever.”

Few have ever missed the mark quite so badly as Annie Proulx did in 1994 with the quote above. Across the board, from author to publisher to seller we’re seeing the effects of books moving from the page to Proulx’s “twitchy little screens.” But maybe there’s some good to be had for the authors. Maybe the playing field can be leveled and the ideas of the writer can come through these new channels; instead of the writer being sold, the words will once again be the commodity. Or so speculates Robert B. Reich in The American Prospect. As the internet disintermediates books, Reich wonders, will he have the opportunity to put the ideas and proposals he’s spent his adult life marketing out front, rather than schlepping his own personality along with his books? Not so fast, concludes Reich unfortunately. Without the usual intermediaries to market the product, Reich himself will have to do all the work: “Of course, all this will require marketing. After all, I’ll need to attract customers…I’ll be on my own. That means I’ll have to sell myself like mad–not my ideas but me. Get it? Disintermediation isn’t the end of humiliation. It’s just the beginning.”

(Thanks, MobyLives.)

Source: The American Prospect

Image by bradlindert, licensed under Creative Commons.

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