The Questionless Books Interview: Publisher and Books Visionary Richard Nash
Inspired by the Proust Questionnaire, The Questionless Books Interview gets a host of lit-types (authors, editors, publishers, publicists, designers, booksellerss, readers, bloggers, journalists, etc.) to finish a bunch of statements about the state of literature and the "future of books".
Richard Nash is an independent publishing entrepreneur, presently launching Cursor, a start-up portfolio of social publishing imprints the first of which, Red Lemonade, will launch in 2011 with a new story collection from Lynne Tillman and debut novels from Kio Stark and Vanessa Veselka. For most of the past decade, he ran the iconic indie Soft Skull Press for which work he was awarded the Association of American Publishers' Miriam Bass Award for Creativity in Independent Publishing in 2005. In 2006, Publishers Weekly picked him as one of the ten editors to watch in the coming decade. The last book he edited, Lydia Millet's Love in Infant Monkeys, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for Fiction. This year the Utne Reader named him one of Fifty Visionaries Changing Your World and Mashable.com picked him as the #1 Twitter User Changing the Shape of Publishing.
I am... starting from scratch.
I am known to... repeat myself.
I do this in... Brooklyn.
I do this because... I've a high tolerance for failure and an appetite for knowledge.
I do this when... I'm awake.
The way I do this is... hustle.
At its core, a Writer is... expressing.
As opposed to an Author, who is... connecting.
A Writer is responsible for... truth.
As opposed to an Author, who is responsible for... Truth. Well, OK, here I need more nuance, lest I seem glib, or delusional. I'm basically distinguishing between private and public acts here. And I've never come up with anything approximating a viable definition for truth in writing.
At its core, Publishing is... connecting writers and readers
As opposed to Editing, which is... helping a writer refine a manuscript.
A Publisher should always... be connecting.
As opposed to an Editor, who should always... be reading.
A Manuscript that's ready to be read by others is... a manuscript that is ready to be read by others which is a Book.
As opposed to a Book that's ready to be read by others, which is... not just a book, but a text that is ready to be read by others.
A Manuscript should always... be a manuscript.
As opposed to a Book, which should... always matter.
At its core, Bookselling is... connecting writers with readers.
As opposed to Book Marketing, which is... actually, connecting writers and readers. Really, all there is now, between writers and readers is the act of connection. Editing, like design, is a service to writers.
The smallest unit of narrative is... unknown to me
To be a Book [thing] a thing must be... a Book. To be a book irrespective of its thingness, oh Lordie, I'm not willing to make a larger pronouncement about that, as soon as I do, someone smarter than be to create or point out something that surely is a book yet lies outside the boundaries of my imagination
The biggest reason to be scared of the future is... helplessness. If we're not helpless, we have no grounds for fear.
The biggest reason to anticipate the future is... to prepare.
In the future we will all..., most of us at least, live longer.
At his/her core, a Reader is... human.