TALES OF THE VERY UNEXPECTED

It’s interesting Roald Dahl, any children’s author’s hero, thought of a ‘consequences style’ story, just discovered by The Sunday Times. Phoenix was thinking of one too. Many thoughts here, and many unexpected consequences, when a story is given to the world, but what is it that writers have to do to be respected, and protected? Is the only value we hold nowadays, not 12 years at a craft, starred reviews, awards, reports of books not staying on the shelves in School Libraries, fantastic letters, praised presentations, even three hundred thousand sales, but only that thing called a ‘best seller’, especially in ‘success’ obsessed America? Because it is really all about money and power, and the growing ruthlessness inside publishing houses, propping up big teams, and big money machines? I sent a file of precious fan letters received to my publisher, but that did not wake any one up either.

It is to the absolute shame of any editor though, inside that system, if they will not protect the essential openness and flow of creativity, vital to any real artist. Even let the beautiful Cleaner Wrasse feed, in the protective shadow of the great whales. Only partly because of a supposedly private matter, that stamped itself all over a publisher in New York. Where once I had a wonderful link to a designer, to a team, my editor fought for nothing but their own power base. So a writer was forced to work into a brick wall, with not even that one classic guarantee at least afforded to authors in a contract, respected either, namely some minor and genuine say in a cover. Art is about beauty, value, story into meaning, true culture, but expressed in the full and free expression of the author, whether it’s fantasy, literary fiction, or non-fiction. Unless those people who build ‘their lists’ guard those things with all they are, only the principle of money through gimmicks will prevail, not real storytellers at all. I’m not jealous of the big hitters, and readers set the pace, because if you don’t like a book, put it away. But I do not agree the market is the only meaning, in anything, and at Phoenix the power of story has to win this one, and perhaps online too, help to affect some kind of sea-change. No one at all takes a lead nowadays, and the confusion as to what we might be reading, who takes those gems to the public, and who the Gatekeepers now are, is writ large everywhere. The threat of online and Kindle is that there are no Gatekeepers at all, so how are brilliance or quality defended and identified, and how do they survive in the marketplace? That is a debate that simply has to be engaged in by everyone, and fought out in every sphere, but I suggest writers have a very big say in the matter. DCD

The opinions expressed by David Clement-Davies are unique to him, and not to be seen as the opinions of Phoenix Ark Press. That is the difference between a writer’s blog, and a publishing website, profiling several pieces of work, and both contained at WordPress. Phoenix Ark Press is a Limited Company.

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Filed under America and the UK, Publishing, The Arts

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