Slow Publishing

Recently I  read the Slow Media Manifesto. This is a fantastic document, yet another outgrowth of the rapidly 🙂 expanding Slow Movement. I would like to find a cathedral and nail it to the door. But I  observe that it offers no blueprint for how to create slow media, only describes the results. Other Slow organizations, e.g. the Slow Cities group and the Slow Movement itself, offer no prescriptions either; these things seem to be left to the user to define. So it seems fitting to cobble together a Slow Publishing Manifesto.

Here’s what I’ve got so far:

1. Slow Publishing is Art. Slow publishing acknowledges that publishing is inherently paradoxical: a creative business. Its participant creators must be granted the same flexibility as any other artist in order to sustainably produce works worth caring about.

2. Slow Publishing is sustainable. It operates in ways that allows both artists and people on the business side to function without constantly eating into their reserves or sacrificing health, family, and time away from work.

3. Slow Publishing respects artists and moves to their rhythms, acknowledging that every artist’s creative process is different and subject to change without notice.  Rather than adding to the considerable self-imposed stress any artist experiences with artificial and/or inflexible deadlines, Slow Publishing establishes goal dates–and adjusts them as necessary to ensure artists and publication staff have the time to do their best work.

4. Slow Publishing respects the art it creates: working as a coach and collaborator for the artists with whom it engages; aiding those artists in doing their best work; and making time for them to re-engage with the work at hand when necessary rather than pushing works that do not yet realize the artist’s true vision to market.

5. Slow Publishing favors quality over quantity. Rather two excellent books per year than two dozen mediocre volumes; rather choosing a sustainable number of appropriate outlets than chasing every conceivable point of sale.

6. Slow Publishing does not sacrifice art and creativity to business. It understands that there are so many resources available for the work, and allocates those resources in ways that support the values that matter.

What do you think? Did I miss something, or write something in a way that just sounds crazy? Looking forward to your thoughts.

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4 Comments on “Slow Publishing”

  1. Sarah Wayland Says:

    I need to investigate this new “slowness”. I have been trying to slow down, do less, and do it better. The things that remain are definitely going better.

    I particularly love points 3 & 4. I used to work at a high tech dotcom company. They used to tell us we needed to deliver products “on internet time”. And I used to respond, “OK. And it will be of internet kwality.”

    • I am far from mastering Slow. I’m better than I was a year ago, but I still allow too much through the gate. At least I have improved on taking care of myself, both as a publisher and as an artist.

  2. Tara Maya Says:

    I think this is a good point. Quality can take time. I confess to sometimes experiencing agonies of impatience, above all with myself, however.

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