Miller: As someone who is primarily interested in books, this idea does trouble me. The form of the book hasn’t changed. It might be delivered electronically but it is still a text narrative, good or bad. I don’t really care whether a novelist is charming or is adept at pitching their work in a video or website. When it comes to the David Foster Wallaces of the future, what I want is their books. That’s it. I’m concerned that I won’t get those books if the authors also have to be good at marketing themselves to have any career at all.
Doctorow: But that’s always been the case. It’s just who you’re marketing yourself to, and how you conduct yourself. My one certainty is that there is and always have been so many people who want to make art for reasons that are innate to the human condition. Whatever factors favor which artists, there will be more art than I can ever consume that I will love and that will uplift me. That just seems axiomatic to me. There is more beautiful, wonderful work being published today than ever before. And I can access it more readily than ever before. My concern as a working artist and someone who cares about the fortunes of the people who make the art that I love is that whatever money is in the system preferentially is diverted to them. And that in the process of making marketplaces for art we don’t set up the conditions for totalitarianism.
We will say it would be much harder to do our own art if we could not maintain a veil of anonymity. It is kind of the point.
In other news, we have a giveaway going on for the above book (^^^) and Ursula K. Le Guin’s THE LATHE OF HEAVEN. (Enter here!)