It is time we really examined the publishing industry. As a writer, I wouldn’t be engaging in any justice if didn’t raise these matters which directly impact on me and with the hope that, they relate to other writers and the hope that, am afforded a platform to raise them.
Of course, like in any other scenario in the contemporary capitalist driven society, profit prevails. It is a priority in the business. However, we need to re-examine the ideology in the arts of the pen and paper. We need not be that greedy at the expense of sabotaging the arts of the pen.
To do this, we need to engage with facts, comfortable nor not so comfortable. Certain characteristics remain dominant in this publishing industry. The first one is, it seems, to be very white centred. It is very difficult for a black person to penetrate into. The promoted content seems to be centred on the idea of targeting and accommodating the white market. Particularly affecting the ‘unknown’ or ‘upcoming’ as they say writers. This is an extremely unfair perimeter of operation simply because everyone was ‘unknown’ before they became ‘known’.
The second characteristic is rooted in the fact that, fiction writing is not promoted in the South African publishing industry by the dominant publishing houses! They even state so in their mandates! Why is this so? It becomes even more difficult when you ‘unknown’. The only platform that is afforded in the promotion of fiction writing, is for the already ‘known’.
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The third characteristic lies in the contract clauses which limit the writer. This unjust idea that, the publisher has prerogative to alter and edit the work of an artist! Why is this so? Writing is an art, so why shrink the freedom of expression for the writer? It’s like telling a painter, ‘no we prefer the shape of the nose to be like this’! Imagine if the Mona Lisa with Long neck was told, ‘no, the neck is too long’! We would have been deprived of such beautiful art.
It is not fair that the artists of the pen and paper get dictated to. If the publishing house holds certain views which are against the presented views by the artist, then they are at liberty to scribble their own book because in essence, by altering and editing the views, they are robbing the writer of their original concept. The work is really no longer there but is diluted with the publisher’s ideologies and this is not fair from any angle one may look at.
Link to the rest at News24 and thanks to Dave for the tip.