Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Hanif Kureishi - continued

It's just occurred to me watching the Hanif Kureishi video from my previous post that writers like Kureishi, who make a good living from selling books tend to have a much smaller internet presence than writers like myself, who hardly make anything. If you're unpublished, or have a couple of small-press publications out there, you're more likely to have your own blog, your own website, or social networking stuff promoting your writing. You're also more likely to give your work away for free so as many people as possible can read it.

Kureishi says he's concerned about writers making a living in the internet age. He has a point. It's surely no coincidence that Kureishi's own website hasn't been updated for nine years. Take a look at, which is still advertising the release of Kureishi's "new book," Gabriel's Gift (published in 2001).

Frank Burton


  1. It may look that way, but we have to keep in mind when Kureishi started taking off and making a name for himself(late 70's/early 80's). Blogging and social networks weren't even available as a tool for the majority of people until about 20 years later. A lot has changed since he was a young writer.

    That said, unfortunately he may have a point about the feasibility of making a living in this burgeoning electronic market. We're seeing unpaid bloggers become valid alternative forms of reporters and storytellers. In fact, there are bloggers out there who do more real reporting and investigating than some of the paid reporters with reputable newspapers and other more traditional media outfits.

    I ran an online zine for while and it was a pure labor of love -- I could not think of a feasible business model that would allow me to actually make money off of publishing the niche short stories and poems I wanted to feature. I paid token payments because that was all I could afford and I wanted to pay something, even if it was just a few bucks.

    But, like I said in my interview, this new world has its benefits as far as visibility goes. It is easier to develop an audience these days in some ways. It is easier to allow a larger audience to find you through the magic of search engines and social networks.

    All forms of media are facing a real shift from traditional to electronic mediums. The next ten years or so should be interesting as the publishers/music labels/television networks figure out how to best utilize modern electonic media to their advantages.

    It's an exciting time to be a writer in a lot of ways.

  2. Agreed - it's an exciting time. Even ten years ago, the internet was completely different. I've got no idea what's going to happen in the next ten years, but I'm optimistic about the future of online publishing.