Humility Publishing

so far i’m my only reader but i like what i see
writing becomes much easier when you can
focus on present company though it be poor

Prater, D., ‘Humility Publishing, Shampoo, 2002

When I began researching the field of self-publishing in Australian poetry in 2005, I envisaged a grand, sociological study in the style of Pierre Bourdieu’s Distinction (1984), punctuated with graphs and tables, statistical analysis and interview data, an extensive bibliography of self-published books by Australian poets, and more. In hindsight, it is easy to scorn my own youthful optimism that an entire ‘field’ of self-publishing could thus be summarised in one vast yet mature and restrained tract of epic academic vigour, which I might then go on to self-publish, or even to disguise the extent of my own involvement in.

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Bonfire of the Vanity Presses: the article

My article on self-publishing, entitled “Bonfire of the Vanity Presses” has been published in the latest issue of the Weekend Australian. Unlike Justin Clemens’ review of my book We Will Disappear, which was published in last weekend’s edition, this one is available online and you can now read the whole thing, in all its ragged glory [Wayback archive].

As is often the case, I now find myself unable to read the article itself, mainly due to the fact that I wrote it at least six months ago and I’m no longer sure what I was thinking about back then. In addition, the argument I make, which was at the time central to my PhD thesis, has now been superseded. Or maybe I’m just trying to have a bet both ways.

Nevertheless, as it’s an article written as part of the Weekend Oz’s “Forum” (aka “What Cheeses Me Off”), I suppose one should read it as an attempt to be provocative, and to generate discussion. Which is a shame, as there’s no opportunity for others to do so via the News Limited website.

I did notice, however, that the’ve installed a neat little set of buttons whereby “you can use the Social Web links to save Bonfire of the vanity presses to a social bookmarking site”. So, here’s hoping somebody does.

Your comments are of course welcome here, as ever.