by Heather Clark
Publishing and writers. They seem to go a bit hand-in-hand. But as we dove into the past of the publishing industry, we found that that is not always the case.
The snippet “From Gutenberg to the Internet” discussed the very beginnings of the printing press. While it didn’t really talk about the relationship between publishers and writers, it starts out a battle for patents. But that’s just the beginning.
Fast forward to the nineteenth century in America, while America was branching away from the British, they still relied on them for a lot. Including their books! Copy write laws didn’t exist at the time so American publishers would rather print British novels and other works over unknown American authors. Imagine that nowadays? Imagine if great American writers like Faulkner and Hemingway were never able to publish their classic works. Books would be very different now and there would probably be a lot less of them.
Then came the time of magazines and small literature publications. Authors, who would otherwise never be printed, had the chance to be printed. Publishers broke away and started to take risks on lesser known writers attempting to find poets and authors that could become the next best author.
Now, there are a lot of printers, big and small. Some authors even participate in Poem Stores where a customer pays for a poem to be written about them. As we learned in “The Ends of the Book: Reading, Economies & Publics,” some publishers, typically smaller ones, will print as many books as are ordered by customers so that nothing goes to waste. Not to mention these authors can’t be in it for the money, since there isn’t all that much.
The relationship between publishing and writers was rocky for a time, but it has grown to be a pretty strong one. Authors can have more confidence sending their pieces to publishers and publishers can feel confident in taking risks on newer authors.
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