image Warren Ellis posted a link to this online round-table of writers discussing whether or not “The Net is Good For Writers” 

The whole idea of hand-wringing about how hard it is to be writer in the age of the ‘Net on the ‘Net is almost meta enough to make your head spin off.  And I think that Mark Amerika (who Warren quotes in his post) has the kind of flexible post-modern attitude that it takes to make it in the digital world.

Writer, like musicians, need to understand that the ability to sit atop the economic pyramid as creative individual was a very specialized experience enjoyed by a small number of folks for a brief period in history. And even then it wasn’t easy to do. With the death of Norman Mailer and the rise of J.K. Rowling, I think it’s safe to say that the rules have changed. You need to be more than just a writer if you’re going to make it these days, as sad as that may be for literary savants.

Douglas has it half right I think:

The book industry isn’t what it used to be, but I don’t blame that on the internet. It’s really the fault of media conglomeration. Authors are no longer respected in the same way, books are treated more like magazines with firm expiration dates, and writers who simply write really well don’t get deals as quickly as disgraced celebrities or get-rich-quick gurus.

I have a hard time blaming the conglomerates when the downturn of the writer as rock star really began in the seventies.  And I still believe that the net is a natural and egalitarian response to that.

At least until it makes my life harder… 

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