Inside the mind of a writer www.scskillman.co.uk

In 1993, E.F. Schmacher published a book entitled Small is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as if People Mattered. Small-Is-Beautiful-CoverIt was well received, and promised a potential revolution in ideas for capitalism and for the consumer society.

Recently I saw a plea from a Christian charity for us to invest in poor (“small” in economic terms) countries and help them develop their economies within their own culture. The benefits of this will radiate out to encompass all of us. The truth behind this is one that philosophers have clearly seen and expressed (in particular John Ruskin) yet it continually seems to bypass the greedy, the corporate, the leviathans of our consumer society.

I found myself relating it to the situation of the “indie” author.  Our society does not yet fully honour the idea that it is good to invest in small indie writers and help them in their businesses (comparable to “cottage industries”) and to develop within the ethos of their own culture. Instead “indie” writers are often made to feel that the only way they can ever progress in a meaningful way in their literary careers and move forward and make a breakthrough is by gaining the support of someone big, i.e. to link up with and/or become subsumed by one of the “Big Five” publishing houses. It’s all about empowerment.

I’d love to know your views on this. If you run a small business or if you are self-employed, either as an author or otherwise, how do you feel?  what is your experience of ‘small is  beautiful’?

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Comments on: "Whatever Happened to Small is Beautiful?" (6)

  1. Reblogged this on Lance Greenfield and commented:
    In the main, I agree with Sheila.

    The odds are set against that breakthrough coming along when one is battling alone. Very occasionally, it DOES happen.

    I keep my faith and I hope.

    My dream is that somebody influential notices the review comments that say, “This would make a great movie.” I cannot afford to make the film of either of my novels, so I need an established movie director to come to the understanding that “Eleven Miles” could be the next award-winning blockbuster.

    In the meantime, I must get on with writing the sequel.

    • Thank you for reblogging, Lance, and for your comment. I like your attitude, and I think that you have the right approach. I must admit I share your dream of a film director coming along and recognising the potential of our stories! These things do happen occasionally and then someone small gets their big break. But I still wish the need for someone “big and powerful” to make all the difference wasn’t so strong in our culture.

  2. In the main, I agree with you. The odds are set against that breakthrough coming along when one is battling alone. As Lisa points out, it does occasionally happen.

    I keep my faith and I hope.

    My dream is that somebody influential notices the review comments that say, “This would make a great movie.” I cannot afford to make the film of either of my novels, so I need an established movie director to come to the understanding that “Eleven Miles” could be the next award-winning blockbuster.

    In the meantime, I must get on with writing the sequel.

  3. I don’t know if that’s the only way to do it. Look at the guy who wrote “Martian” and what about “Wool?” I believe those were self-published and they both made it big. It’ll happen. It just takes time. Hang in there.

    • Hi Lisa; thank you for your comment. Yes, certainly there are dramatic exceptions which always attract a lot of attention. In fact, I think phenomenally successful self-published “indie” authors are probably as rare as the huge attention-grabbing successes that used to hit the headlines, when a previously unknown author won a massive 3-figure deal from a commercial publisher. These find their way into the popular imagination and create the ‘default setting’ that many people seem to have in their minds of “the bestselling author”. I suppose my concern that I expressed in this post was that our culture has betrayed the principles of “small is beautiful” which Schumacher originally set out in his book, despite its popularity at the time it was published. Nevertheless, I appreciate your optimism and your encouragement; we have to carry on believing, and we must never give up.

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