Thursday, January 5, 2017

Guess what? There's MORE! I write for The Coil, and at Medium, too

I wonder...does everyone, or anyone, who reads the blog know that The Coil also publishes pieces I write?
5 Novels to be Thankful Came Out in 2016
5 Novels by 21st Century Warriors
5 Alternate History Novels About American Politics
5 Novels About Immigrants and Immigration
The Coil is a webzine that treads the lightly beaten path of independent literature. It's curated by the unbelievably busy Leah Angstman of Alternating Current, which is also a micropublisher of outstanding books. I don't think the woman sleeps.

My piece on publishers in the Mittelstand. This is an area I'm very passionate about. I think this is the place where the best work in publishing is, and always has been, done. That's a German economic concept, one that we here in the USA have ignored. It's quite probable that this neglect has caused a great deal of the economic distress that we're in.

Wikipedia provides this list of core Mittelstand values:
Family ownership or family-like corporate culture
Generational continuity
Long-term focus
Emotional attachment
Investment into the workforce
Lean hierarchies
Customer focus
Social responsibility
Strong regional ties
Can anyone argue with these values as models for any company to emulate? The immense size of the US small business sector makes it a primary driver of consumer spending, aka the bulk of economic activity. Publishing's Mittelstand has given us the careers of Hemingway and Faulkner, among others. The modern independent publishing scene is more urgent than ever. In an emerging authoritarian regime, the big publishers can be very easily compelled to sing Horst Wessel because they have so much to lose and are famously un-nimble. With the advent of print-on-demand technology and e-books everywhere there is a screen, nimble and determined indies can evade all but the most determined government harassment. (Like Sander Hicks went through when he published James Hatfield's Fortunate Son, which horrendous governmental abuse of power is detailed in Horns and Halos.)

I've published two profiles of publishers I regard as exemplars of some of these admirable, almost Utopian, industrial values. Outpost19, a California-based emerging publisher of fiction and non-fiction that's outside the business model of the media conglomerate dominated publishers. I've reviewed Hope for a Cool Pillow in that profile.

I've also profiled Phoneme Media, whose novel BAHO! is the first Burundian novel to be published in the USA. My review is posted here. The publisher is a deeply creative soul, David Shook; his and his partner's outstanding aesthetic eye is evident in each and every thing that Phoneme does.

My next profile will be of my long-standing favorite publisher of gorgeous books, Chin Music Press.

It must be a decade now that I've read and reveled in their deluxe output. As objects, the books are uniformly handsome to gorgeous; as entertaining reads, they're uniformly excellent. So stay tuned...January brings a special treat of Seattle-y goodness.

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