Sunday, December 14, 2008

TBAR: The Texas Publishing Project

The publishing industry shapes public opinion. If Texas is going to provide a counterweight to power of New York City, then publishing has to be a part of the Texas Ascendancy Project. It fits within the Texas Business and Arts Renaissance (TBAR).

It is important to all the people of America, it is important to all the people of the world that America has some force that can counteract the inept bundling of the power brokers of New York City and the Northeast. Their bungling has rocked banks around the world and badly damaged the American economy.

As I have mentioned earlier in talking about Timberwolf Press, it is important that Texans support Texas publishers. That has not been happening.

Now is a good time to focus on publishing. The publishing industry is reeling from the new economy and wondering how to survive, as described in the following three (3) paragraphs.

(1) In the Sunday July 30, 2008 Dallas Morning News, in the Points section, a pertinent article appeared: "Age of the Disposable Book" by Jonathan Karp. The same article appears in the online edition of the DMN as "The Problem with the Publishing Industry" with a Tuesday July 22 date. He likens meeting sales goals to a game of blackjack. He says industry sales projections are fundamentally based on blind hope.

(2) In the Sunday November 30, 2008 New York Times, James Gleick's Op-Ed piece, "How to Publish Without Perishing," discusses the pressure writers and publishers feel from electronic publishing.

(3) The Sunday December 14, 2008 New York Times Book Review printed "Bail Out the Writers," an essay by Paul Greenberg where he expressed despair at the increased competition in getting published.

The New York publishing industry is feeling its power slipping away. We need to make a grab for it. Everything that is driving New York publishers nuts, we need to embrace. They are trying to figure out how to survive and flourish as technology changes the publishing industry. That means it is up for grabs.

Both James Gleick and Jonathan Karp believe quality writing will be a part of winning plan. I am a believer in quality products, so I think Texas needs to embrace quality writing. We can support a Texas publishing industry by buying quality products and spending time reading.

Teaching good writing needs to be a priority in the education of our children. We need to care about our children's writing skills. We parents put a lot of effort and tutoring time into math, but not, I think, into writing. Furthermore, good scores on TAKS and SAT writing tests are not a convincing indication of good writing skills. Frankly, most adults have poor writing skills, so it is difficult for most parents to help their children improve their writing. I believe Texas needs a cottage industry for tutoring writing skills, and adults should partake of opportunities to improve their writing skills.

The internet can be an important part of the Texas Publishing Project. Internet publishing can minimize publishing costs. It can permit small online magazines to flourish, but they cannot flourish if they are not read. A couple of examples here in Texas are the Emerson Institute for Freedom and Culture and the blogs for Interdisciplinary World and the Emerson Institute. If you know of other good websites and blogs done by Texas, let share them in a comment.

Let us all keep alert to opportunities to support good writing in Texas and the growth of a Texas Publishing industry.

Robert Canright

If you have not read an earlier post, TBAR and the Texas Journalism Project, check it out!

Response to Comment by Dr. Troy Camplin:
Dr. Camplin, I think the Emerson Institute for Freedom and Culture looks like a good fit for a literary journal in which citizens could enter into free public discussion in the manner discussed by the German philosopher Jurgen Habermas in his work, "Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Investigation of a Category of Bourgeois Society." Corporate mass media has destroyed rational discourse in America. Non-profits will have to bring back public discourse so we can resume the great dialog that is democracy.


Troy Camplin said...

Sounds like something my Emerson Institute for Freedom and Culture would be interested in being connected with.

Also, as a writer of interdisciplinary scholarly, philosophical, and creative work (fiction, poetry, and plays), I personally would be interested in Texas publishing.

Troy Camplin said...

Actually, that's exactly what I want our website to become. We desperately need to redo the site so that I can post articles on it more easily, and readers can post comments. We don't quite have the money for doing that yet, though.