More on What “Published” Means

“Computer word-processing technology has made every writer into a typesetter, which not only drastically reduces book-making expenses, but insofar as we send our manuscripts in data files rather than in envelopes, we have become co-workers in the publishing process.”

A while back on this blog, I wrestled with ideas about what “counts” as “published.” In the really wonderful, thorough, and thoughtful piece I quote above, Michael Anania writes about the history and evolution of publishing in the context of what academia (including some writers and scholars who are gatekeepers when it comes to tenure and promotion) dubs as “legit.”

“The increase in the numbers and variety of poets writing and publishing has been met by an increase in the number of small poetry presses.  This essentially positive literary development creates new areas for the kinds of misunderstanding that are generated in tenure and promotions committees.  Is a press with a name that is unfamiliar to committee members or located far away from Manhattan respectable?  That is to say, does it represent a judgment a committee can rely on?  Does it represent any editorial judgment at all?”

I’m not going to clip any more of the piece — hopefully I’ve tantalized you enough that you’ll go to the TriQuarterly site and read the whole thing for yourself. And pass it along.

This piece is great reading for all writers & publishers, and especially for those interested, as I am, in the evolving relationship between digital and print formats — not as an either/or, but as something more layered or multifaceted. Enjoy!

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