After a long hiatus we have another blog – Low Art v. “High Art” v. Judgmental

April 9, 2011 — Leave a comment

It’s been a couple weeks since my last blog.

I’ve been kicking around a few different ideas for this blog, but finally settled on the following (inspired by a recent drunken conversation with a friend on Thursday night, and my girlfriend reading from Nick Hornby’s rant in “The Believer’s Manifesto”).


When my brother and I first started Twit Publishing, we kicked around a few different business plans. The original one is the plan we settled on. Put out an anthology of short stories every six months that focused on genre fiction in general. We would, if things went according to “the plan,” develop a stable of writers that were dedicated to the idea of putting fun-to-read stories in people’s hands. In turn, these writers would submit to our future anthologies, giving readers an opportunity to build their own relationships with the authors and their (sometimes) recurring characters.

Then, we could go to our short story authors for longer works, novellas and novels. Eventually, we may have something approaching a model of publishing where authors and publishers actually worked hand-in-hand towards developing pleasurable fiction that was exciting for everyone involved (readers, authors, publishers . . . screw the critics, though, they’re not really involved).

Finally, we, as publishers, stay up front and accountable for our actions.

This plan has worked. I’m not even going to say “so far,” because that implies I think we did it through luck or that we beat the odds. It’s a good idea, and it’s a good plan. And I think it’s one that will carry us through the next 80 million anthologies and novels that we release.

BUT, one of the other plans we kicked around was one I have decided to call The Twit Lit Plan. The Twit Lit Plan was one in which we would, after a period of time, start an imprint under the Twit Publishing umbrella of companies, and name it Twit Lit. This would focus on “Literature.”

Chris shot this idea down out of hand. I was a little upset, because people tend to get that way whenever an idea is rejected so quickly. He explained:

Chris has a BA in English. He is also a little pretentious. But, at least he’ll admit it. In his words, he “I’ll admit I’m pretentious, but I won’t be the douchebag that points at something and say ‘this is literature, and this is not.’ It’s for the reader to decide.” He has no problem rejecting a story from his anthology. If it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t fit. But relegating a story from an entire genre? That’s something for people who value their own opinions a little too much.

I agreed with him. And so Twit Lit was aborted.

But, this really does neglect the entire question of how I feel about literature v. genre fiction.

I don’t really make a distinction. Or I try not to, at least. I have a collection of Conan the Barbarian short stories sitting on the book shelf next to Ulysses. All the King’s Men rests next to The Necronomicon. Pet Semetary is next to a collection of Gogol’s stories. Books is books, reading is reading.

So, once my brother explained his choice, I realized that I didn’t ever want to be a reader/writer that looked down on another reader/writer for their stylistic choice. I may not like your choice, but I’m not you. In the paraphrased words of Nick Hornby, maybe The Da Vinci Code is your bag and you derive a lot of enjoyment from it. I shouldn’t decry what you’re reading, or even think twice about it. That shouldn’t be my problem.

In fact, it’s my problem that I’m such a judgmental prick.


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