Self-publishing shouldn’t just be something to grow out of, or grow up with before scoring that internship at Harper’s. It should be a mark of integrity, not mediocrity. Being ‘accepted’ by an established journal or published by an established press is fine, but it doesn’t mean that the writing is good—only that the author was willing to jump through the necessary hoops, paying agents and collecting rejection slips when they could have just been publishing themselves. It’s proof, usually, of a writer’s need for validation, and their belief in the standards of quality dictated by the establishment.
Take a good look at those standards. The dollar racks and recycle bins of the world are full of their crap: a mountain of books all written from the vantage point of the moneyed upper class, a thousand glossy mags in which every author has the same glib, smug tone. The subject matter is narrow and shallow, for so many words are ‘unprintable’ and so many stories unmarketable. One look at the degrading ads in the glossies or the overpriced prices on the paperbacks will tell you that these are institutions we should destroy, not imitate, emulate or try to get accepted by.
Aaron Cometbus, “A Call To Arms”, originally printed as a broadside for the Chicago Zine Fest (?) but I read it in Cometbus #55 3/4, “East Bay Mostly” (via agingriotgrrrl)