The following was delivered at the Mischief & Mayhem launch party in NYC, November 2010.
Welcome. The publishing revolution is here. The new publishing model has a name: Do It Yourself. Itâ€™s very simple to explain. Art and commerce are in a dysfunctional relationship. Commerce depends upon artâ€”he needs her; without art, there is nothing but watered-down product. Art disturbs and unsettles and questions and shocks. Thatâ€™s her job. Art is an inventor, an innovator, a weirdo and a watchdog. Publishing canâ€™t live without art.
But commerce has started terrorizing art. Sheâ€™s getting beaten up. Weâ€™re taking her away and putting her into our safe house. Artâ€™s going underground. Right now, tonight, art is free.
So hereâ€™s what the new publishing model looks like. Itâ€™s writers in a room throwing a party and saying whatever they want to say. That is the basic impulse of art. Itâ€™s newâ€”and itâ€™s Old School.
Itâ€™s the victory of words over numbers. In the publishing revolution, writers will not be tyrannized.
Writers will not be tyrannized by their Amazon ranking. For one reason: we wonâ€™t have one.
Writers will not be tyrannized by the response of Barnes and Noble. For one reason: we arenâ€™t distributing our books to them.
Writers will not be tyrannized by fear, wondering how many copies of their novel their publisher is printing. There will be no print run, no pulped books that didnâ€™t sell. Every book will have an owner.
Writers will not be seduced by numbers.
They will not be seduced by the dream of the bloated six or seven figure advance. For one reason: we wonâ€™t get any advance. Instead, weâ€™ll get a share of the profits.
At Mischief and Mayhem, weâ€™re convinced that this infusion of the weird and wonderfulâ€”the outrageous, the bracing, the rawâ€”will be invigorating. That formulaic plotlines lead to books that begin to sound the same. If authors lose their distinct voices, their spikes and edges, their idiosyncrasy, their individualityâ€”why buy a book, anyway? We declare our independence tonight. Weâ€™re going to fight, now, against one thing. Sameness. Sameness is our enemy.