Showing posts with label publishing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label publishing. Show all posts


NaPoWriMo - 2021 - X - Dierdre Frank, writing as Bernard Mane...

Dierdre Frank, writing as Bernard Mane

reviewed by

Edmund Drake, writing as Elizabeth Loften

A book-like book of wordy lines I read
it on the train in Leicester signalling
my great cerebral worthiness to all
newspaper readers in my view.  I will review
this for the TLS because I know
it's a pseudonym of the Prof who supervised
my Ph.D. and he will broadly blow
his gasket the moment that he reads
the words I'll write.
I have already listed certain phrases
not damning in themselves but from which
certain words -- "commonplace", "quotidian" -- will jam
right in his unswallowable craw, or more like
caltrops beneath his -- there's another

...but really this is wasted effort here
spending my time to damn a new-wrought book
which before I pick it up already spends
longer on

"About the typeface"

than on
the author's


NaPoWriMo - 2017 - April 18th - Possible taxonomies of the 1957 Yorkshire coast

I went to a writing workshop, some years back now.  One of the exercises was to watch a "British Transport Film" similar if not identical to this:

-and write a poem in response.

It's the "poem" part that may be dubious here.  Sometimes my response to something is more to its style than its content and seeing this I was struck by how much it was unique to the period.  So I started thinking about how people might present the same information in other styles...  and I hit on the idea of an overly abstract and academic study.

So what I am saying is that there may be nobody else in the world except me who gets this...

...but it is a list poem and you could imagine it came from the introduction of some dry-as-bones volume that a tweed clad professor has been labouring over for the best part of a decade..

Possible taxonomies of the 1957 Yorkshire coast
  • those involving sun hats
  • those involving beer
  • those involving knobbly knees
  • those involving simple foodstuffs : apples, sandwiches, cheese
    • as above, but also fish and chips
  • those involving model ships or boats
  • those involving racquets
  • those involving balls
  • those involving young ladies
    • excluding the most popular of all
  • those involving sand
    • with buckets and spades
    • with towels
    • with sandwiches
  • those planned a year in advance
  • those involving dance with various degrees of skill
  • the subset involving omnibuses
  • those involving ice cream
    • the subset with also small children
      • and the subset of those in which a seagull features
  • those involving other creatures:
    • donkeys
    • crabs
    • minute fish
  • those in which you drink too much, and wish you hadn't
  • those featuring special boys or girls
    • appearing at just the wrong moment
    • or where they don't arrive at all
  • as yet to be categorised:
    • sea temperature
    • sunburn
    • chilblains
    • lower back pain in the context of luggage
    • all the grades of rain


Releasing a single!

Or rather Hallam London, my musical collaborator, is releasing our song To the Sky, which we dedicate to David Bowie because, as often the case, we didn't realise quite what we had until it was gone.

As usual Hallam wrote the music and I provided the lyrics.  He also got other friends and professionals to contribute, see the bandcamp page for full credits...

This is the song I wrote about last week, explaining its creation story (no radioactive animals were involved, somebody may have fallen to Earth) and also see here for the lyrics.

Anyway, please enjoy the song and if you feel inspired to contribute a small sum to this enterprise, please buy it (for as little as 1€; for American friends 1€ is roughly $1.15 at today's prices...)

Please also share this song promiscuously.  You remember how Andy Warhol promised everybody 15 minutes of fame in the future?  Well it's been the future for over 15 years now and my fame still hasn't arrived...


To the sky - artwork update

I have to start with a small version of the image, because that is what Facebook and other semantic content scrapers will pick up.  So that's the one on the left...  but I'll include a full sized version as well.

This is the cover which Julia Eichhorn has drawn to accompany Hallam's forthcoming single: To the sky

We now have a firm release date of "next week, as early as we can manage."

While I have your attention, let me leak a preview of the lyrics (below.)

To the sky

(Lyrics by Ian Badcoe, Music by Hallam London)

Those were our days
we would space-walk in the park
I made you laugh
we kicked the grass
I didn't float home until the dark.

And you never grew cold
but you grew distant, never told me why.
I was a clown
said I'd be around
I was a fool to let you fly.

Got my space suit on...
I've got dotted arrows drawn upon the night
as the countdown runs
all the systems hum
I can follow arrows to the sky.

When the engines run...
I've got green lights right across the board
I locked everyone out,
but I do not doubt
and now it really seems
as if a man can touch the sky.

I lost those days
and how the vacuum's more complete
you are not there
not anywhere
that I can reach on aching feet.

I will not let it end
I've watched the wall clock since you're gone.
My head tilts back
to view the black
and you're a pale star in the dawn.

Got my space suit on...
I've got dotted arrows drawn upon the night
as the countdown runs
all the systems hum
I can follow arrows to the sky.

When the engines run...
I've got green lights right across the board
I locked everyone out,
but I do not doubt
but now...

Houston, I have a problem
it has to be there's love in outer space
but there is too much junk beyond the place
where all the blue turns black
and how can one man in his tiny can
have ever hoped....

I had a space suit on...

(This is "Rock Music Description Language" again, verses on the left, choruses in the middle, break on the right...)


Publishing the other self...

Some self-published books, earlier today...
A while back, in Antiphon, Rosemary wrote this editorial:

When Rosemary writes everybody listens... er... reads!

But I wonder if she didn't go far enough?  I wonder whether the whole idea of "self publishing" being different from "publishing" isn't a historical artefact left over from the time that publishing was difficult.  I mean, I am publishing right now.  For the avoidance of doubt I mean this blog posting you are reading right now.  More than publishing, I am actually broadcasting, and it hasn't cost me anything beyond a little time and some facilities I already owned.

So...  you have a preponderance of channels in the World today.  Blogs and vlogs and tweats and forums and on-demand printing (which sooner or later will extend to on-demand creation of almost anything) and YouTube, LuLu, on-line magazines and so on and so on.

I say that the game has already changed, but that it will take another decade or so for people to work out what the change means.

Look at it this way, what is a traditional publisher?  It is:
  1. an input hopper, where manuscripts are thrown
  2. commissioning editors, who pick through them
  3. general editors, who ensure quality
  4. a manufacturing/shipping capability
  5. a publicity system
  6. something to collect the money
All of these parts can exist in other forms, and all of them can exist without the others...

If one takes YouTube as an example, it does all of those things except one, and it does every one of them in a completely different way...
  1. The hopper is vast and anybody can throw anything into it.
  2. YouTube uses crowd sourcing to run a recommendation system.  People effectively commission things themselves and technology permits this because it harnesses the power of other people doing the same sort of thing to cut out the part where you, personally, would have to watch every single crappy video on the system—other sharing, rating, liking, and even some play-list systems all help solve this problem, increasingly with deliberate intent by their originators.
  3. There is no equivalent to 3, but more later...
  4. On-demand delivery.
  5. Interestingly, 2 and 5 have become the same thing.  People "like" things, the system tells other people that things are "liked" and so it goes: a huge, Darwinian, positive feedback loop.  It is exactly the same thing that used to happen when your friend told you she liked Frassiter Crimps new book (which she bought because she saw it on the side of a bus), only automatic, faster and without any middle men.

    There are also other advertising channels in the system, you can link videos others, or from a blog entry; you could even pay Google AdWords to link your video to every Worldwide search for "Deterministic Quantum Nihilism..."
  6. Money, what money?  But seriously, people like YouTube make their money via advertising, not by charging for content...  and anyway their costs are (proportionately) far lower than those of a Victorian publishing house (CPU and storage are everything nowadays, and we're talking pence to hire them from Amazon, which is the expensive option for small-time operators...)

So, where does this leave us?

Well it leaves us where we have always been, with the general problem of intellectual hunger vs. Sturgeon's Law.

Or to put it another way: (i) people are starving for content which isn't crud, (ii) 90% of content is crud.

The traditional publishing and new systems are both just ways of scanning the input-hopper for non-crud, maybe fixing it up a bit, and making money from handing out copies of the results...

So where might we go next?  Note Ros quoting Gerry Cambridge:

In general, self-publishing is regarded with suspicion by many ‘traditional’ poets… The reason for this suspicion is straightforward: it can seem to bypass the standard expectation to get some sort of editorial consensus for a body of work. It implies that you weren’t able to get the work published by the usual channels, because almost any poet I know of would rather have a full collection, at least, published by a trade publisher than do it themselves

And note my point above:  YouTube has no equivalent of  general editors...

((Interestingly, Amazon CreateSpace and Lulu do have equivalents of this, they will sell you various services including editing...))

So what I am getting around to is.
  • Any one of us can publish his/her own book at any moment (and some of us do), BUT
  • self-published books are (rightly or wrongly) regarded with suspicion, SO
  • why aren't we editing one-another's?
Rosemary, John C. Nash and I successfully edited together a collection with Making Contact and we are fairly typical (OK, I'll admit to "advanced") amateur poets editing content from a (good but) fairly typical internet poetry board...

So it seems reasonable to suppose that other "gifted amateurs" could very effectively edit each other's work.

HOWEVER, the catch is in my second bullet-point, self-published books are regarded with suspicion, and although we would know these these new books were less suspicious, there would be no way for Joe on the street to know that.

SO, what I am suggesting is that there is room here for a movement, call it what you will—"International Poetry Standards Organisation" seems to be up for grabs :-)

e.g. if people were known to belong to a movement that was dedicated to quality, where people edited each other's work and where the editors were as well known for doing a good job as the authors...

((Since anybody could claim to be in the movement whether they were any good or not, you would probably have to back it with an (light-weight) organisation, that didn't let just anybody in, and which treated its name/symbol as a trademark, just to stop others from stealing it...))

Then wouldn't this provide the missing quality control component that a purely mass-market system like YouTube or Lulu lacks?

Just a thought...