Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Must-Read Indie Publishing Interview: Rami Shamir

I’m thrilled that novelist and former Zuccotti Occupier Rami Shamir talks about what it means to be an independent author in this terrific interview at The Huffington Post. Self-publishing is not just about self-sufficiency: Shamir makes the distinction between the “self-publisher,” who in today’s digital/POD/Amazon/Kindle/Nook world is held hostage to corporations, and the independent author, who is someone seeking a literary community that can support our books outside of the corporate structure. What is an independent author but a writer, and what is a writer but someone whose voice is needed, now more than ever? "Now" is a time when corporations are pushing against humans baldly and with more impunity than we've seen in our lifetimes: pushing against human rights, against workers' rights, mowing down environmental safeties we'd like to take for granted. Gag orders, corporate buyouts and mergers of newspapers, and shrinking outlets for paid investigative journalism are all examples of the free market attack on free voices.We need writers who are free to speak.

Shamir challenges us as authors to boycott Amazon and Barnes & Noble—to pull our titles from those corporate predators. He considers independent bookstores to be “the new arsenals of American democracy,” fighting the good fight for the voices of authors and the visions of publishers they believe in, and the fight against Amazon’s ongoing late-stage-capitalist war on brick and mortars.

m. craig and Rami Shamir at Copacetic Comics, Pittsburgh (April 13, 2013)

I had the pleasure of meeting and hosting Rami Shamir and m.craig when they came through Pittsburgh on their Embracing the Accidental reading and distro tour in April 2013. Craig is the author of The Narrows and the founding editor at Papercut Press (Brooklyn). Together on tour, Shamir and Craig introduced their voices and their books to cities, booksellers, and writers across America, and established ties with 31 independent bookstores from coast to coast. They created a distro map of these stores for other independent authors to follow. Find it here:

View EMBRACING THE ACCIDENTAL: A Distro Map for Independently Published Authors in a larger map

Rami Shamir's interview also talks about his editor and mentor Barney Rossett, about Wikileaks and Manning and Snowden, about Occupy and what it meant to his generation, and about his novel TRAIN TO POKIPSE, which is a gorgeous piece of writing even more urgent and resounding than this interview.

"Interview With 2013 Acker Award Winner for Fiction, Rami Shamir"
by Lisa Chau
Huffington Post
August 6, 2013


Stay tuned: When Shamir and Craig were in Pittsburgh, we held a panel called "Having Our SAY and Eating It, Too: Independent Publishing in the Age of Amazon." There is a video of the panel discussion, which I will post when the final edits are made.

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