THE SYSTEM which controls mainstream publishing is rigidly hierarchical: a gigantic monopolistic machine at the bottom of which are writers themselves-- the creators of art who should be at the top of the pyramid.
In the process of mainstream publishing the writer has no rights, is the supplicant: the peasant at the door of power with hat in hand begging, "Please publish me!"-- treated through every step of the procedure with disdain.
The approved procedure is demeaning for anyone with talent and spirit. It's meant to crush spirit. From expensive and unnecessary writing programs, seminars, and conferences to the inevitable and eternal unsolicited mailings to slush piles.
In the recent past, the only writers exempt from this treatment have been the well-connected whose parent, relative, family friend or college chum gives them entry into the system.
BUT over the past decade a new kind of writer has emerged, creating zeens (zines); writers who've refused to play the established game, who instead do every step of the process themselves. Call it D-I-Y. Call it independence. Call it freedom.
The literary part of this movement is embodied in the Underground Literary Alliance, which has walked off the plantation and put the WRITER at the top of the system, firmly in control.
Strangely, the strongest opposition the ULA has faced has come not from the literary plantation owners themselves, but from loyal house servants whose dependent position is now starkly illustrated. Instead of supporting their more daring brethren, they attack them.
We therefore ask those toiling in the System, at papers, book companies, and magazines: If you can't support literary revolt, at least don't oppose it! To create true, non-hierarchical alternatives, as we seek, benefits all writers.