L. Detweiler

from the Internet Writers Resource Guide

A Vision of the Future

I compiled the Internet Writer's Resource Guide for a variety of reasons. The Internet has completely exploded into the collective human psyche and it is radically altering the realm of writing, and writing for money. It is clear that Cyberspace offers unprecedented opportunity for everyone to profit from writing and editing, not just an anointed elite clique as is often the case in many existing publishing structures. This threat to the status quo upsets many. But to me the bottom line is that the quality of writing available to the consumer (the reader) is ultimately going to improve, and the cost of that quality is going to decrease, and selling writing will be more accessable and profitable for everyone who truly has something valuable to offer.

But the definition of valuable is going to be upheaved and revolutionized over the next few years. I feel very strongly that a certain kind of parasitism whereby a middleman takes advantage of a writer, reselling the product without adding any value himself, is going to become a much more difficult or even impossible niche in the future cyberspatial society, because all writers will have available their own unparalleled publishing capabilities.

I think we are entering an age where everyone will be able to run their own publishing stations at home (sort of like FTP sites but far less complicated!) -- they will become perhaps as common as answering machines. And a structure to allow for transparent, seamless, painless transaction charges will evolve very soon as well. And ultimately, this was partly the motivation in writing this FAQ-- to encourage everyone to market their writing independent of people who seek to take advantage of them by denigrating, underpaying, monopolizing, and diminishing their choice of outlets. I seek to advance this vision of the future where everyone who can type can publish.

Some people think, or fear, that the role of the writing middleman is threatened to the point of extinction. But I must emphasize that most existing editors, critics, proofreaders, etc. do add value to writing and deserve to be rewarded and sought by the better writers. In fact, I think these future developments in Cyberspace will also help to separate, more than ever before, the parasites from the truly talented artists (writers) and meta-artists (critics, proofreaders, editors, etc.) by rewarding the latter beyond their wildest dreams and making the former an unprofitable and untenable existence. Cyberspace is going to revolutionize publishing more than the printing press did, and in amazingly similar ways.

One example of this emerging egalitarianism and populism in cyberspatial writing is in the explosion of electronic zines. While generally of marginal quality compared to more sophisticated outlets, some zines have built up immensely prestigious reputations and quality of editing and writing surpassing many paper-published journals. This trend will continue until an entire spectrum (a sort of food chain) of magazines will coexist in cyberspace, from the lowliest free, irregularly published, slapped-together paragraphs to the most professional, slick, typeset, paying, even advertising and subscription-based outlets.

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