Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Bold Experiment, Especially for Poor Creative Writing Students

If someone sponsored me with a stipend to make a basic living, accomodating for consumption of art, I would gladly give away my writing for people to read for free. I don't need tremendous luxuries, just the ability to share my work with as many people as I can while being able to eat and read books and watch movies and listen to music and occasionally watch some theatre. Actually, that might be a lot, but you certainly don't need millions of dollars a year to accomplish that. I do all that (except the mass sharing of my work) in university, and I did it in college, and I am not even remotely rich.

I thought I'd let us all, aspiring writers with aspirations to possible bankruptcy as we are, know about a wonderful opportunity to stay poor while giving up none of your need to be writers. But I kid. This is actually a fascinating experiment that basically relies on the generosity and decency of readers to survive, and hell, readers and writers are two sides of the same coin. Orwell would bash me on the head for that little cliche, so apologies. Still, if we don't have some faith in readers, we have nothing.

I suspect most writers are generous people who want to give other people their art, share it, rather than merely sell it for lots of money.

Concord Free Press is a publishing house in Massachusetts that jumps off from that assumption. It publishes books, and gives them away for free at independent bookstores that have agreed to be a part of the project. It pays its writers nothing. It pays the bookstores nothing. It pays its employees nothing. All it asks is that readers donate some money to any cause they find worthy, if they want, upon picking up their free books. It's literary altruism.

If you're brave, you might try submitting. They really do publish your book. Of course, this doesn't mean they're easy. If you plan on submitting, treat them like any other publisher: chances of rejection are high. Probably not as high as other publishers, but it's never wise to think that.

Here's their website:

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