Tuesday 12 April 2011

Andy Crawford talks to Andrew McCallum Crawford about poetry and why posting stuff on your personal blog isn't publishing.

Andy Crawford: Snappy title, Andrew.

Andrew McCallum Crawford: We aim to please. Hit it.

AC: What's with the poems, Andy?

AMcCC: What, you mean the stuff on my blog?

AC: Aye.

AMcCC: You don't like them?

AC: Eh - no comment.

AMcCC: Just as well I'm not going for publication, then!

AC: Really?

AMcCC: Yes, really. The poems, for me, are a starting point for something else, hopefully something short story related. That's allowed, isn't it? My blog, my rules.

AC: Some publishers get a bit sniffy about taking poems that have appeared on personal blogs.

AMcCC: Yes, they seem to think that because you put it on your blog then it has been 'published'. I think they're being a bit precious, to be honest. Wee Fictions, I've said before, is a work in progress. If I don't like something I've posted, I'll go back and change it, or delete it.

AC: So you don't agree that blog posts constitute published work?

AMcCC: Certainly not. I think we need to look at the word 'published'. What does that mean? It can mean lots of things. I think if someone likes your work and puts it up on their site, then the work has been published. Someone is putting their reputation on the line by promoting your work. And, of course, if it's on someone else's site, it can't be changed. This is another facet of 'published' - you can't go back and change it. It's out there.

AC: But what about self-publishing, Andrew?

AMcCC: I don't really think you can seriously call it self-publishing on the Internet.

AC: Many people would disagree with you.

AMcCC: Well, it would be boring if we all agreed with each other.

AC: Is there a difference between self-publishing on the Internet and self-publishing in print media?

AMcCC: Absolutely. Self-publishing in print is something else entirely. First of all there's the cost, but more than that, as you know, anything with an ISBN has to be lodged with the Legal Deposit Libraries. It goes into the national archives, if that doesn't sound too grand - but that's what happens. Which comes back to this thing about reputation - your own. It really is sticking your neck out time, putting your head on the block. I'm all for it. But the problem with self-publishing is distribution.

AC: We'll have to leave it there, Andrew.

AMcCC: What, just when it's getting interesting?

AC: Maybe we can do a blog post about distribution some other time.

AMcCC: Fine. Although I'm not promising anything about snappy titles.


  1. yes, some editors are a bit prehistoric when it come to this though many now accept that having a poem on a blog for a few days doesn't constitute publishing. I use my blog as a form of workshopping my poems, I only post first drafts and take them down after a few days. I think this is reasonable enough.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Marion - goodness knows this blog could do with more of them! I like your thinking - blog as workplace.