In which The Author wonders what the phrase ‘creative people’ actually means
A few days ago Andrew Chainey, Aberdare’s multimedia and web whizzkid, an occasional proofreading client, and one of my good friends for many years, posted a link on Facebook. It was a site called (oddly enough) Chainy, and it describes itself as a networking portal ‘for creative people.’ I thought that it might be a good way to find some new clients, and decided to check it out.
I was surprised, and not a little disappointed, when I saw the five categories available for networking: Music, Photography, Film, Design, and Fashion. As a result, I’ve just sent them the following email:
A friend of mine mentioned your site on Facebook a couple of days ago, and suggested that it was a good way to network. I’m a freelance proofreader, and thought it could be a good way to find some new clients. I checked it out, but I was rather disappointed to learn that writing and publishing doesn’t appear to be a ‘creative industry’ in your eyes.
A bit of my own history:
I spent two decades working in the UK book trade before leaving the last of the sinking ships a few years ago. Some of my former colleagues and I decided that it was better to jump before we got pushed. Borders in the UK crashed shortly before, leaving only one national chain and a steadily dwindling independent sector. Given this virtual monopoly demanding ever-increasing discounts from suppliers, only the transnational monsters (Pearson/Penguin, Random House, Hachette, Bertelsmann, etc) stand a change of getting new books onto the shops.
Faced with a loss of sales, small publishers are struggling to survive. Similarly, first-time authors often can’t get a look in. This means that exciting new voices aren’t being heard in an increasingly narrow and boring monolithic retail sector. The Internet should be the lifeline for young writers and independent companies, enabling them to connect directly with their readers.
Personally, I feel that if there was a ‘publishing’ tab on Chainy, it would fill a gap in the market. It would enable writers, publishers, editorial staff and freelancers to meet up in Cyberspace. I believe that a large amount of business could be generated from the resulting synergy of ideas, which would benefit us all.
I’d be interested to know what you think of this suggestion. After all, writers and book publishers were here long before photography, film and sound recording. Between them, they’ve given untold pleasure to countless millions of people ever since the Renaissance, and they don’t show any signs of giving up just yet.
With best wishes for 2015