The Mission of Earthrise Press
A Post-Gutenberg Publisher
City Lights Books once asked me for a mission statement.
Gazing from the moon, we see one Earth, without borders,
Mother Earth, her embrace encircling one people, humankind.
My new essay "The Post-Gutenberg Revolution—A Manifesto," a twenty-three page essay that incorporates much of the material on this page and my thinking over the past decade and a half, going far beyond what is here, is now available in The Myth of the Enlightenment: Essays.
Here’s a very incomplete list of self-publishers:
Mark Twain, James Fenimore Cooper, Walt Whitman, William Blake, John Milton, Benjamin Franklin, Henry David Thoreau, Henry Adams, Ezra Pound, e. e. cummings, Edgar Allan Poe, James Joyce, D. H. Lawrence, Gertrude Stein, Anais Nin, Carl Sandburg, Stephen Crane, Laurence Sterne, Thomas Paine, William Wordsworth, Jane Austen, John Ruskin, George Bernard Shaw, Rudyard Kipling, Thomas Hardy, A.E. Housman, Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf, Michel de Montaigne, Alexandre Dumas, Marcel Proust, Friedrich Nietzsche, Johannes Kepler, Upton Sinclair, W. E. B. DuBois, Edwin Arlington Robinson, Derek Walcott, and Robert Hayden.
Most of them rarely published other writers. I probably won’t either. What for, when they can publish themselves?
The mission of Earthrise Press is to reach directly the reader, American and international, with works of a global, world-embracing vision.
The Internet and other digital, technological developments make independent publishing and distribution more of a possibility than ever for the serious poet and literary writer, weary of the small little postmodern theories of self, academia, Marxism, deconstruction, race, gender, and so on, ad nauseam... Endless regurgitation of all of that, and similar academic banality, is not part of the mission.
Further, the mission of Earthrise Press is to publish my work without giving away control of my writing and 88% of the list price to the illiterate corporate conglomerates, distributors, cliques and coteries, large and small, of which I’d include, in addition to the obvious New York and international corporations and mega-chain bookstores, Small Press Distribution, PMA, CLMP, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Academy of American Poets, ALA, Poets & Writers (the entire MFA mentality that goes with it), and other gatekeeping organizations that attempt to filter, regulate, exploit, and manage independent writers, and the small and supposedly independent presses and magazines, which largely share a very common and predictable worldview.
I’ve studied and sacrificed for over forty years to write my books, and I urge other writers to think and act for themselves, and take control of their work. Poets have as much right to make a living from hawking their wares as anyone else. Remember the ballad-mongers and poets selling their broadsides on the streets of London. There is no reason why poets and writers shouldn't sell their own books to the entire world over the Internet. The New York mega-publishers and others elsewhere are not arbiters of literary quaility and taste but economic self-servers selecting and promoting a very narrow, predictable vision of life, in our extremely fragmented culture, while calculatingly discrediting, with slurs of "self-publishing," as though it were vanity publishing, any author intelligent enough not to conform or allow themselves to be exploited.
The poete maudit pose and the academic route amount to about the same thing. It’s long past time for the poet and writer to have a new relationship to publishing and the reader.
As Jason Epstein has said regarding his Espresso Book Machine, we are living in the most significant revolution in publishing since Gutenberg. Philosophically, at the center of that revolution is the individual breaking free of the old orthodoxies, as a result of accelerating decentralization and democratization, in publishing, literature, and knowledge, as in other domains of the Global Age.
I highly doubt that William Blake and many of the writers mentioned above would have hesitated to join the Post-Gutenberg Revolution.
Further comment at Publishing in the Post-Gutenberg Age
From The Poetry Foundation report, "Technology: Poetry and New Media." January 2009.
"Frederick Glaysher, the founder of Earthrise Press, is a dynamic presence among the advocates of self-publishing
and adopting the independent music model of direct purchase from artist to consumer."[search > Glaysher] https://www.poetryfoundation.org/foundation/newmedia-StevensReport.html