Is Deseret Book the only LDS publisher worth publishing with?

5.18.11 | | 36 comments

Last week in a guest post on Dawning of a Brighter Day, Jana Riess suggested that Mormon novelists have a more difficult time getting published than those in the Christian market because Deseret Book dominates the LDS market so much. [I can’t resist pointing out that I’ve argued the same thing here on A Motley Vision, and that others have made this argument as well.]

But Riess went further, suggesting that novelists who can’t get a contract with Deseret Book should self-publish instead of going with any of the other publishers in the LDS market. Really?

I’m happy to admit that most of the publishers in the LDS market aren’t as professional as they should be, and have a very limited reach. I’ll also admit that the results that the small LDS publishers can get for the author will likely not be as good as if the author’s novel was published by Deseret Book or by a national market publisher. But, shouldn’t the author also ask herself if self-publishing will be as successful as publishing with these small LDS publishers?

One of the first posts I wrote after I was asked to join AMV discussed the difficulties of self-publishing, even in the current POD-driven self-publishing world. Among other things, I pointed out that self-published titles don’t reach LDS bookstores the way that even titles published with the smaller LDS publishers do. And, many authors self-publishing their books simply don’t realize how difficult self-publishing can be.

I won’t cover again all that I wrote in that post. Instead, I want to highlight another reason for supporting independent LDS publishers, you might call it a political reason: If most LDS authors self-publish, then will the lack of strong LDS publishers and a more dynamic LDS market ever change?

At least theoretically, carefully selecting a small publisher who can reach the audience or who the author can help to reach the audience for his book should give an author as much or more success than self-publishing, even if it isn’t as lucrative. And, by strengthening the small publisher, an author not only helps him or herself, but also helps fellow authors who publish with that publisher.

In the long run (again, at least theoretically), stronger small publishers in the LDS market means competition for Deseret Book, and improved opportunities for authors. In this sense, by publishing with a small publisher the author can help herself. When a market has multiple publishers, the successful author can choose between them, and likely get a better deal and better distribution in the process. And the less successful author may actually get published by a strong publisher, instead of spending a lot of time and effort learning how to publish effectively.

The problem is that the hallmark of self-publishing is its instability and impermanence. Usually self-publishing doesn’t institutionalize its ability to produce and sell—i.e., publish—books. Successful institutions learn and apply what they learn to future tasks. Like it or not, self-publishing usually learns for a single or a handful of projects, and loses that knowledge once the project(s) are done or the author has moved on.

I don’t mean to suggest that authors should never self-publish. My view is that it depends a lot on the author’s abilities and resources. For some it is probably the best move. But, I do want to reiterate what I first said soon after joining AMV, that self-publishing is a difficult path to getting published (although admittedly the only path for far too many books).

And, I also want to emphasize that self-publishing usually does little to address the overall problem we face in the LDS market. [Its not really a problem for the national market, which is well developed.] If Deseret Book is really the only LDS publisher worth publishing with, then we are indeed in a difficult situation. But even so, the only way out of it is to develop strong independent LDS publishers. And someone will need to publish their books with those publishers in order to make them strong.

36 comments: “Is Deseret Book the only LDS publisher worth publishing with?

  1. Wm Morris

    I agree with you in the abstract, but the reality isn’t quite so clear. Who would an author choose to publish with other than DB? Are any of those publishers providing any real competition to DB? The only one I can see where one could make that case is Cedar Fort.

    That being said, I agree that self-publishing does little to expand the overall LDS market. That doesn’t mean it’s still not the right route for certain authors and projects.

    I suppose this gets us back to the curated online bookstore with user reviews and a content warning system.

  2. Jonathan Langford

    Dave Wolverton/Farland self-published In the Company of Angels because he felt that with his contacts, he would do a better job with the marketing his book within the LDS market than any publishers he went with would be able to do. (I’m pretty sure he had tried out DB first as a publisher; don’t know if he had tried Covenant.) His success suggests that in his case, that was quite possibly true.

    Note that he *was* able to place it in LDS bookstore, including those owned by Deseret Book. He also had contacts and resources that few people self-publishing would have, so what was true for him would be true for relatively few others.

    I can’t really speak to the notion of whether that makes the Mormon market stronger in the same way that publishing with an independent publisher might have done. I think, though, that when people have a book they want to publish, they need to do what makes the sense for them.

  3. Kent Larsen Post author

    Wm (2), I agree with your assessment of the current state of LDS publishers. My only caveat is whether or not some of those smaller than Cedar Fort might in the future provide competition for DB. While it isn’t clear, I hope so in some cases.

    Jonathan (3), cases like Wolverton are exactly why I wasn’t willing to say that all authors shouldn’t self-publish. Like I said in the post, its a matter of the author’s abilities and resources. To make the best decision, you need to know not only the author’s abilities and resources, but what will be required to publish the author’s book well.

    Too often authors don’t even know what will be required, let alone having made a realistic assessment of their abilities and resources. So, unfortunately, I’m pessimistic about whether authors even know “what makes sense for them.”

    Regardless, as I said in the op, too often self-publishing is the only choice they have.

  4. Moriah Jovan

    […]carefully selecting a small publisher[…]

    I see a lot of this sort of sentiment on blogs about getting an agent and a publisher. The problem is…you don’t choose them. They choose you. Considering the odds of being chosen, I just don’t know how people can continue to use this phrase without a sense of irony.

    As for the rest of the argument, if I had anything I wanted to submit, I wouldn’t feel obligated to do so to prop up an anemic niche industry where the major player owns 90% of the real estate.

  5. Wm Morris

    I’m trying to think of which publisher that might be, Kent.

    But speculating entirely: I wonder if there’s room for someone to aggressively go after the ebook market. Go after rights from authors that DB/Covenant (and other publishers) don’t have locked up. Cut deals with all of the smaller publishing houses. That might be a way to scale fairly quickly and then if you can get some decent sales flowing in you have some data to help make decisions. The tricky part would be what you then do for print offerings and who fulfills those orders.

  6. Wm Morris

    I don’t know that it’s necessarily anemic in comparison to some other publishing niches.

    As I see it, the major issue with the Mormon publishing market is that it’s not entirely clear that there is a room for competition. Those who prefer the DB approach are fairly well served by it; the vast majority of Mormons who aren’t interested or are only casual consumers of the DB approach don’t consistently seek out Mormon-themed cultural products; and then there’s a small niche of people who are interested in Mormon-themed, non-DB cultural products, but even they have various tolerances in terms of content, theme, genre, style, etc.

  7. Eugene

    Like Wm, I’m wondering who these “stronger small publishers” (plural?) are. And if they truly compete with DB, then their editorial standards would hardly set them apart, so what would be the point?

    The point should be getting books to readers. It will be a lot easier to convince readers to embrace ebooks than to launch yet another Pyrrhic charge against a brick & mortar monopoly with home field advantage.

    Frankly, dreaming up ways to get titles into LDS bookstores is like dreaming up ways to get LPs into Tower Records, circa 2005.

  8. Wm Morris

    I’d still say that Kent’s larger point: that we should support independent LDS publishers is a good one. As is his point about the disjointedness of self-publishing efforts. I think the disjointedness of independent publishing efforts is also an issue, though.

    Zarahemla Books had a great run, but all it took was for Chris to lose interest and it loses steam. Still around, but certainly not expanding. Signature is barely relevant anymore. Parables has very few titles in its stable. Some of the Covenant competitors are focusing more on other markets instead of LDS genre fiction.

  9. Moriah Jovan

    I’d still say that Kent’s larger point: that we should support independent LDS publishers is a good one.

    If “should” support indie LDS publishers is a valid point, then rather it’s on the consumer to do so, not authors, and there aren’t enough authors to create the kind of demand they each would require to succeed financially and as an industry.

    If it’s some type of expectation of cohesion that’s being wanted, then the more practical thing to do would be for the LDS non-DB publishers to form a marketing/PR co-op and get serious with advertising/marketing efforts.

  10. Eugene

    Another underlying problem is that not all long tails are created the same. What is “Mormon” but “not-DB” does not consist of a single accessible clump, or even a bunch of related clumps, but stuff strewn all over creation. Imagining herding those cats together brings to mind “The only people we hate more than the Romans are the Judean People’s Front” scene from Life of Brian. Splitters!

  11. Michael Knudsen

    I agree that with the occasional exception DB has a corner on the market, at least for fiction. Let’s face it, they own the publishers, the distribution, and the brick-and-mortar facilities.

    Cedar Fort is my publisher, and I love ‘em to death, but it’s clear to me that they survive on the strength of their non-fiction and LDS doctrinal titles. They wouldn’t last a month on fiction alone (nor would DB for that matter), and I get the feel from the way the owners talk that they keep pumping out 2-3 fiction title a month more as a labor of love than as any kind of profit center.

    Yes, CFI title find their way onto DB shelves, but seldom in any decent quantities or even in all store locations, and I’ve never seen one featured on an endcap or promotional display (Seagull seems to be a bit more equitable about this).

    So the conglomerate definitely has somewhat of a chokehold on LDS fiction distribution, and I agree that e-media is the way it can (and eventually will) be broken up. When we get to the point where great fiction is available without the intervention of publishers and distributors, we’ll see some breakthroughs for those who choose (or are forced) to remain independent. Word-of-mouth via social networking will drive the marketing of fiction in the future.

  12. Michael Knudsen

    I agree that with the occasional exception DB has a corner on the market, at least for fiction. Let’s face it, they own the publishers, the distribution, and the brick-and-mortar facilities.

    Cedar Fort is my publisher, and I love ‘em to death, but it’s clear to me that they survive on the strength of their non-fiction and LDS doctrinal titles. They wouldn’t last a month on fiction alone (nor would DB for that matter), and I get the feel from the way the owners talk that they keep pumping out 2-3 fiction titles a month more as a labor of love than as any kind of profit center.

    Yes, CFI titles find their way onto DB shelves, but seldom in any decent quantities or even in all store locations, and I’ve never seen one featured on an endcap or promotional display (Seagull seems to be a bit more equitable about this).

    So the conglomerate definitely has somewhat of a chokehold on LDS fiction distribution, and I agree that e-media is the way it can (and eventually will) be broken up. When we get to the point where great fiction is available without the intervention of publishers and distributors, we’ll see some breakthroughs for those who choose (or are forced) to remain independent. Word-of-mouth via social networking will drive the marketing of fiction in the future.

  13. MIchael David Young

    Well said, Michael Knudsen. I am also with Cedar Fort and I’ll second what he says. I will also say that in the year since I published with them, I’ve seen some great positive changes in their staffing and what they are able to do. They have been growing slowly but surely over the years and I think they will continue to be a good alternative because they are so willing to take a chance on some new authors. We may not get the best placement in LDS bookstores, but it is better than not being in print. Being published with them has been a way to start my brand. You can’t start building a brand if you don’t have any product. I’m sure I won’t sell every book I ever write to them, but for now they have given me a start and confidence in myself and my writing.

  14. Kent Larsen Post author

    My biggest fear with Cedar Fort is that in a few years, when Lyle is ready to retire, that he will sell out to the only company large enough to purchase his operation — Deseret Book.

  15. Bob Smith

    I agree with supporting the smaller publishers whenever possible, but they don’t always make it easy. One such publisher, mentioned in more than one post above, called my novel unique, compelling and well-written, but said that they wouldn’t know how to market it, because the protagonist is gay. My only alternative is to self-publish. However, with self-publishing, distribution seems to be the main issue. So my ‘unique, compelling and well-written’ novel will probably never see the light of day.

  16. Kent Larsen

    Bob, why do you say “My only alternative is to self-publish?”

    Have you approached EVERY Mormon publisher? What steps did you take to make sure you approached every one?

    Not that I’m offering, but I don’t think you approached me [GRIN]!!!

  17. Kent Larsen

    Oh, and Bob, I should emphasize this statement from the op:

    “self-publishing usually does little to address the overall problem we face in the LDS market.”

    If you self-publish, will that make it easier for the next book with a gay protagonist to make it to the LDS market?

  18. Moriah Jovan

    If you self-publish, will that make it easier for the next book with a gay protagonist to make it to the LDS market?

    Why should that be a concern of his?

  19. Kent Larsen

    Oh, its not necessarily. Except, as the op tries to point out, the culture as a whole doesn’t benefit. In this case, as with many elements of culture and society, everyone benefits if each individual invests a little in the group.

    So, go ahead, self-publish. There is no obligation to do anything more. But that doesn’t help solve the overall problem. And in the end neither the self-publisher nor anyone else will get the benefits of a better-developed market.

  20. Moriah Jovan

    I suppose you and I will have to disagree on changing the culture.

    A) It is what it is for a reason and it serves those who want that. Going outside that even marginally [see the reaction to Rachel Nunes’s IMPRINTS] is discouraged for a reason.

    B) This is not the way to change a culture. A culture begins to change when ONE PERSON steps out and says, “Hey, I’m going to do what I’m going to do” and other people follow.

    C) Bob, above, has already been shut out of the culture. His trying to get back in it with a manuscript no one wants is futile and, thus, not going to change the culture anyway. If no one wants his stuff (and you flat-out told him you weren’t interested, either), his only option IS to self-publish. How can it be otherwise if he wants to see it on the market? You can’t change a culture from the inside when there’s a gate that’s padlocked to you.

    D) I don’t understand why everyone in the entirety of the publishing industry acts as if GETTING PUBLISHED (i.e., querying, contracting, etc.) is a CHOICE. It’s not. You choose to write. You choose to query. You choose to submit proposals. You cannot choose to BE published the way you choose what to have for dinner. The OP starts on that premise as if it’s truth, and it’s not. The entire premise is flawed.

  21. Kent Larsen

    Moriah, you may be right. Still, a few observations:

    A) Yep, except that I hear a LOT of people complaining that it is NOT what they want, and many suggestions that they want MORE than what the narrow, Wasatch-front based culture sees as acceptable.

    Perhaps my perception is wrong. But I would very much like to expand Mormon culture to serve others besides the narrow range that it does.

    B) I fail to see a distinction between your “one person stepping out and others following” and what I have suggested. Isn’t someone starting a publishing operation and trying to get others to follow by purchasing books exactly that?

    C) Bob’s efforts may in fact be futile. I don’t know since I haven’t read his book. But I don’t think we can really say that it is “a manuscript no one wants.” Since I haven’t heard from Bob about what portion of the current LDS market he approached, I don’t even know that “no one wants” his manuscript.

    My only point here is that it is preferable (not mandatory) to publish in a way that builds a broader LDS market, one that goes beyond the current, narrow one. Too often self-publishing doesn’t do that (although I admit that it can at times accomplish this).

    I am NOT suggesting that Bob change the market from inside. I realize that the major players have padlocked the gate to books like he writes. BUT, that doesn’t mean that his book should be done as a one-time work, without an attempt to build an ongoing capacity that could support more such books.

    Book publishing is kind of like building an infrastructure for distributing manuscripts to a group of people. Why build this infrastructure for just one book?

    D) Moriah I’m not suggesting that authors have a lot of choice here. I do realize that many authors get put in a situation where they feel like self-publishing is their only option. On the other hand, I’ve sure seen a number of self-published books that I would love to have published but that the author never contacted me about publishing. Apparently the author in those cases was unaware of all of his or her options (and I recognize that this is at least in part my fault).

    Most of what I’m trying to say isn’t about whether or not the author gets published, its about how its done. The problem with self-publishing isn’t that it hasn’t been done by a large, established publisher. Its that it is too often done as a one-time effort. All the effort learning how to publish is lost because no other book uses the same knowledge that the self-published author has learned.

    You, at least, seem to have understood this. Instead of just self-publishing your books, you are publishing or helping others to publish books with the knowledge you have learned.

    That is what I’m suggesting should be done.

  22. Moriah Jovan

    A) Yep, except that I hear a LOT of people complaining that it is NOT what they want, and many suggestions that they want MORE than what the narrow, Wasatch-front based culture sees as acceptable.

    Perhaps my perception is wrong. But I would very much like to expand Mormon culture to serve others besides the narrow range that it does.

    I understand that. I AGREE.

    I don’t think it can be done through Deseret Book or any of its like-competitors.

    B) I fail to see a distinction between your “one person stepping out and others following” and what I have suggested. Isn’t someone starting a publishing operation and trying to get others to follow by purchasing books exactly that?

    I may have misunderstood you entirely, then. Were you proposing that people build publishing companies? Because that’s being done. Chris did it. I did it. Theric did it. What’s missing, other than the fact that we all have limited resources?

    I didn’t see Bob’s manuscript, either (can’t speak for Chris or Theric), but that’s because I DID make the mistake of not listing us in the Mormon publishers directory. He probably doesn’t know we exist.

    You, at least, seem to have understood this. Instead of just self-publishing your books, you are publishing or helping others to publish books with the knowledge you have learned.

    Well, it wasn’t that simple. I started B10 with the vague idea that I might maybe someday possibly publish someone else, but rather knew that if it made money, it’d be making money on the back of author services I can provide.

    Then Theric approached me with a project I couldn’t resist, and that kind of sealed my/our fate.

    That got derailed when I took time out to see if I wanted to run another author’s (solely) self-publishing company and after a few months, realized that, no, I didn’t want to do that. I walked away from a six-figure salary for that decision.

    Which was only to say, I still have two projects on my plate (not related to Peculiar Pages) that I want to do but can’t because I haven’t had time.

    That is what I’m suggesting should be done.

    And this is where we disagree. I don’t understand why anyone SHOULD pursue anything beyond their goal for the sole purpose of benefiting others. Just because we have a volunteer clergy for church purposes does not mean that can or should spill over into commercial ventures that ostensibly serve church members and/or advance a cause he may or may not be interested in.

    Bob (nor anyone else, not me, not Theric, not Chris) DOES NOT owe anyone anything. If YOUR purpose is to advance MoLit, that’s great and admirable. It’s not mine. MY purpose is solely to publish ME. That comes with a couple of peripheral goals I’ve achieved, and it’s had some lovely unintended consequences, but my sole purpose now and for always is to publish ME.

  23. Kent Larsen Post author

    Moriah, participating in a community means working with others and taking steps that benefit the community as a whole as well as self.

    One of the lies that the far right in the U.S. spreads is that we don’t owe anything to each other. IMO, it is incompatible with the gospel of Christ.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean that you have to participate in everything, and building a market for LDS books isn’t the same as strengthening other members of the Church. BUT, the principles are similar, and if you want the market to be better you have to step up.

    I guess you don’t want the market to be better?

  24. Moriah Jovan

    I guess you don’t want the market to be better?

    No.

    Because I don’t play those asinine word games, Kent.

    When did you stop beating your wife?

  25. Moriah Jovan

    Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I’d like to know what YOU have done to make the LDS market/LDS book community better?

  26. Wm Morris

    First of all, let’s not turn this into more of an e-wang display than it’s already been. Kent, she’s right, that’s an unfair, passive agressive question. And Moriah, if you don’t now what Kent has done it’s because you aren’t paying attention. And you haven’t been up until about a year ago. That’s fine. But let’s all just focus on the core disagreements rather than make it a contest.

    Second of all, I think Kent makes a good point about how too many of the efforts in the world of Mormon culture are atomized projects. Of course, I personally would even rank the small publishers that Kent is pointing to in that category as well. The right self-published author can get as much market penetration and do as much for the field as one of the small publishers. Should authors shop their manuscripts to the boutique publishers or self-publish? I don’t know. It depends on the work, the author and which boutique publisher. Obviously because Moriah and Kent represent self-publishing and small publishing respectively they may disagree (although, really, B10 is now a boutique publisher too).

    Our best bet for some major momentum was Zarahemla Books, but Chris has had to pull his foot off the gas on ZB, and, for whatever reason, it didn’t have quite the impact (in terms of sales) that many of us hoped.

  27. Moriah Jovan

    Our best bet for some major momentum was Zarahemla Books, but Chris has had to pull his foot off the gas on ZB,

    Honestly, I don’t blame him and I owe him a huge apology for my issues with ZB in the past because yes, NOW I’m understanding what an enormous undertaking this is.

    So, Chris, please accept my most humble apologies, and thank you for blazing a trail.

  28. Eugene

    I still have no idea what this “culture” is that Kent talks about. There is no uniquely Mormon literary culture beyond that carved out by DB and its neighbors. The long tail scatters hither and yon, and there are far fewer Mormons “out there” than on paper. No amount of effort will change this anytime soon.

    As Megan McArdle puts it, “The New York Times is not visibly left-leaning because its reporters are fooling the folks on the Upper West Side, but because the folks on the Upper West Side demand news sources that agree with them.”

    Mormon literary culture has the publishers that agree with it. Giving it what it doesn’t want won’t “build a market for LDS books,” though you may get books written by people who happen to be LDS into the hands of readers who don’t care. They want a good story. The characters could just as well be Klingon.

    Let’s say you want to “build a market for Japanese books.” I work for a publisher who has succeeded by concentrating on a corner of a niche of a genre that the owner admits in interviews he doesn’t ever read. But that sub-genre sells well enough to finance projects he does care about.

    There is no market for “Japanese books.” There is a market for specific authors and very specific genres. Expanding either a tiny bit beyond their original confines is extraordinarily hard, if not impossible. If people do not want what you are trying to sell them, they are not going to buy it.

  29. Kent Larsen Post author

    Eugene, I mean the same “culture” we are talking about in AMV’s tag line: “Mormon Arts and Culture.”

    I don’t believe I’ve used (at least not in the op or any of the comments to it) the term “Mormon literary culture,” so I’m not quite sure why you are suggesting that it is limited to DB.

    I do understand what you are saying about the “Mormon literary culture,” but I’m not willing to limit the possibilities and opportunities as you seem to be. I don’t simply accept things as they are and throw up my hands saying that there is nothing I can do about it.

    No culture or society is monolithic. The fact that DB controls the current market and that Wasatch Front-think is dominant in the way that the market reacts to works doesn’t mean that it represents all Mormons, or even a majority.

    We’ve explored here before the idea that some significant portion of the potential market for Mormon literary and cultural goods is disaffected from the DB mindset. In my view this is an opportunity to expand the market for Mormon cultural goods. The problem is simply finding a way to reach these people.

    Is that a quixotic effort? I don’t know. I don’t think anyone knows. But to the extent that I have an agenda, that effort is part of it. If you think it is quixotic, perhaps you can just pat me on the head and wish me luck with my silly dream.

  30. Eugene

    To modify the word “culture” in “Mormon Arts and Culture” with the adjective “same” is to form an oxymoron. Thus the problem. There is no “sameness” here, at least not the kind that any concentrated marketing effort (short of making friends with a bored, spendthrift billionaire) could identify or reach.

    That is, once the target demographic has tumbled down the waterfall of the Pareto distribution and drifted a few miles from the sheltered harbor of the Wasatch Front.

    There is a way to reach these people: write books and publish them. The problem here arises from a preoccupation with the “publisher” as the supreme captain steering the ship of collective action and shifting the tides themselves. There’s simply not enough of a collective identity out there to make that work.

    In the real world, the “culture” in “Mormon Arts and Culture” needs a thousand ships and a thousand captains to have a chance of being circumnavigated. Lo and behold, they now exist at bargain prices! A thousand explorers, not beholden to any single correlated source, can place their own hands on the rudder.

    If “reaching people” is the actual goal, that is how it will be done. The world is too vast for any one person to sit studiously behind the wheel and chart the way forward, even if he commanded an entire fleet.

    But hey, Kent is absolutely right. I will mix one last batch of metaphors and say that if he wants to plow the ocean in search of phantom ships, yar, matey! Haul up the anchor and keep the wind at your back. Meanwhile, I’ve got my own sails to unfurl.

  31. Moriah Jovan

    To springboard off Eugene’s point:

    The United States didn’t have anything approaching a real navy in the Revolutionary War, and certainly nothing approaching Britain’s scores of ships of the line (100+-gun frigates of war). But there were thousands of privateers acting in their own interests that helped (significantly) the effort. They got rich and didn’t show too badly against the well-established, well-organized navy of the most powerful country on earth at the time.

    From there, a navy grew.

  32. Wm Morris

    I suppose that means I need to write that post on how Mormon culture is like a pirate’s cove.

  33. Kent Larsen Post author

    Eugene (32) wrote:

    To modify the word “culture” in “Mormon Arts and Culture” with the adjective “same” is to form an oxymoron.

    Huh, I’m not getting your point. I don’t think I am modifying the word “culture” with the adjective “same” — I’m only trying to explain what I mean by the word culture. I’m not sure why this is so much an issue for you — I don’t even think its really the point of the op.

    The problem here arises from a preoccupation with the “publisher” as the supreme captain steering the ship of collective action and shifting the tides themselves.

    You are projecting. While I do see the publisher as a key element, my definition of publisher is very broad. I dare say that many are publishers without realizing that they are.

    But if you want to kill off the publisher as your avowed enemy or something, go ahead. My “preoccupation” is NOT with the publisher. As I was trying to point out in the op, I AM preoccupied with permanence and development. If it can be done without a publisher, great. But please explain how.

    IMO, usually when the “publisher” is taken out of the equation, the role–i.e., the tasks that the publisher does–ends up being done by someone in the overall system (or not done and found wanting).

    If “reaching people” is the actual goal, that is how it will be done. The world is too vast for any one person to sit studiously behind the wheel and chart the way forward, even if he commanded an entire fleet.

    And please tell us who exactly is arguing for any such person to control everything?

    I will mix one last batch of metaphors and say that if he wants to plow the ocean in search of phantom ships, yar, matey! Haul up the anchor and keep the wind at your back. Meanwhile, I’ve got my own sails to unfurl.

    Your creativity is getting in the way of clarity. I have no idea what you mean. You seem to be projecting onto what I say something very different than what I mean.

    I get the sense that perhaps Eugene or Moriah or some others dislike any suggestion that they publish with a “publisher” and react to what I say as a criticism of their choices. In fact I see what I have said as praising and encouraging their efforts, which leaves me quite confused at times by the reactions I get.

    My only point in the op is that the overall market, the divided, fractured, underdeveloped and diverse one all of us as Mormons are involved in, benefits from developing ongoing, permanent efforts and infrastructure, instead of “atomized projects” as Wm put it.

  34. Kent Larsen Post author

    I’ve been sitting on my hands for days trying to figure out how to respond without inciting further problems. Instead of responding, I’ve put a couple of recent comments on hold because they feel like personal attacks and close the comments on this post to avoid further problems.

Comments are now closed for this post.