Writing Your Own Book, Now That's Democracy

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Have you guys ever noticed that the word authority has the word author in it? This is something that just occurred to me, I swear. But I feel like it is totally relevant to Kawasaki's points on traditional publishing, the self-publishing revolution, and the ascent of eBooks.

Something that certainly stuck with me was in Chapter 3--(The Three "D's" of Self-Publishing). Determination, Democratization, and something Kawasaki calls disintermediation. Which isn't really a word. I looked it up.

But democracy?
Honestly the last thing I'm thinking of when thinking about my potential career in publishing is anything remotely close to politics, but Kawasaki has a different way of looking at it.

I'm currently working in the Writing Center right now, and right now I've currently been reading a lot of papers from English 103 (anybody remember THAT?) students answering the question-- "What is an author?"

Well, apparently an author is anyone who "publishes" their work--and by publish I mean "gets it out there." There are a number of ways to do this: blogging, social media, YouTube, etc. But this "self-promotion" is what gives you the credible title of author.

An author doesn't have to necessarily be a writer either--but an artist, photographer, videographer....the possibilities are endless. And the papers I've read have been exploring this concept that wedding dress designers are "authors"--in the same way that Ernest Hemingway is. An author is an ambiguous title to give to those who have shared their work--and this doesn't necessarily mean they have to be successful. But just someone who thought "Hey I'll give people the option of whether or not they want to look at this project I've been working on. If it's a flop--oh well!"


When Kawasaki says that "Anyone with a computer and a word processor can publish a book" (26)--he actually means that.


I feel like self-publishing is currently in this stigma that it is totally the opposite of traditional publishing. These self-made "authors" are conditioning the world to believe that traditional publishing is time-consuming and unresponsive to the artistic needs and wants of who matters most--the writer.

But I don't think this is true at all. Technology is not killing traditional publishing. If anything, I feel like it is only improving it. What is currently slow and tiring about the publication process is coming to light with the faster, more personal way of getting your work published. And this is what I think Kawasaki means when he compares it to democracy.

We have the power to effect change, and Kawasaki says it best: "If you're going to succeed in self-publishing, you need to believe in these changes at the core of your existence" (26).


(Photo Credit: Theresa Robinson, Flickr User)

APE does good job at weighing the pros and cons of both, but my question is--why do they always have to be on opposite sides of the spectrum? Is there no room for an improved hybrid of both self-publishing and traditional publishing? After all, this is the 21st century. Let's work on that.


LBark94's picture

Nice job!

This is a great connection to your own life from the APE reading. I also thought the connection to democracy was odd, but effective! Great response!
Larissa Barkley

tpom13's picture

I really like the author

I really like the author/authority thing at the beginning. I had never thought of that either. I never thought deeply on the democracy aspect, but you made it very clear how important it is to writing. Great job!

Valerie Smith's picture

I agree about the democracy

I agree about the democracy aspect with you, although I have never really thought about it that way before. I think this is a great response to The reading on Kawasaki's approach of self-publishing. Awesome job.

briana.993's picture

I really enjoy your

I really enjoy your perspective. I had never considered other creators to qualify for the title of author before and it was interesting to think about. To me all creators fell under the title of artist but to think of them as authors recognizes the effort and impact that creating can have. Whether it's a painting or a wedding dress, what an artist makes tells a story. Regardless of the method of creation, or publishing, what is important is getting your story out there.

clscott's picture

The concept of "what is an

The concept of "what is an author" is complicated and I don't agree with the response that an author has to publish their work in order to be considered an author. Emily Dickinson was a poet and most of her famous work was discovered after she died. I also don't agree that anyone with a computer can be an author; as a photographer, it bothers me to hear people say that photography is just using a camera, so the term is hard to define and I don't think there is one correct answer.