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Jonathan Kay @jonkay
, 11 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
there isn't any mystery here. Canadian publishers are dependent on govt handouts, which are based on diversity criteria, esp. indigenous (it's 30% of Canada Council valuation, for instance). so books that get published are the ones we're *supposed* to want, not the ones we want
I've seen the inside of this sausage factory because magazine grants operate on the same criteria. that's why every subsidized cdn mag you see has the same "portraits of resilience" articles about multi spirited performance artists. no one is reading any of this.
the grant system strips away the discipline of the marketplace. at a place like Bookthug, or the 1000 obscure publishers like it, the median book sells ~100 copies. so it doesnt matter who gets published. they just publish their pals, who are fashionable grievance-studies types
when no one buys these books (because they're unreadable), we are told that the cbc needs to do a better job promoting them. so the cbc gets drawn into it, producing another kind of content no one wants to read. it's a self-eating donut that no ordinary person finds appetizing
a small publisher can get 220K$/yr from the Canada Council alone, to publish books that might sell, in total, a thousand copies. do the math. taxpayers are paying for crappy books that end up getting pulped. and then the media scolds us for not reading this crap
but you won't read about any of this in the 47 outlets that pretend to cover the literary scene in canada, since they feed from the same trough. that's why we get endless panels blaming CanLit's problems on the non-existent crimes of a UBC prof, or the patriarchy or whatever
p.s. if you are a Cdn author, consider going straight to the US. I just sold a project in new york, and was amazed how much simpler things are when publishers don't have to fret about how a book will be perceived by the sour canlit mafia running the grant councils, festivals etc
if you want a great example of why no one is reading canlit, here's a sample from bookthug's latest offering, "Canlit in ruins," which canlit twitter hails as a masterpiece. enjoy. the whole book is like this. i might just be the only person in Canada who will ever slog thru it
but it gets better
as some of you know, bookthug recently changed its name to book*hug, because they decided their name was too racist. I'm not making this up. and you know who paid for the rebranding? Ontario taxpayers, through the OMDC.…
so let's review
Bookthug, which gets hundreds of thousands of dollars per year from the government to publish books no one wants, changes its name to impress its friends (I.e. its authors). and taxpayers get stuck with that bill
this... *this* is what's wrong with cdn publishing
I don't agree with everything @fordnation is doing. but FFS, if you want to cut something, cut *this*
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