At an anti-library closure protest, local magician and comics legend Alan Moore had some surprising words for those who hope to break into the wide world of published writing.
With his wild-man Merlin’s beard and distinct Northampton tones, Moore’s speaking style is oddly comforting as he holds forth. “If you write every day, you are a writer,” the co-creator of Watchmen, From Hell and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (to name my favorite Moore works) tells the crowd.
Some of his advice is pretty standard: write every day, be self-critical, don’t worry about money when composing. But Moore also breaks out of the old adages and is frank about the publishing world as he perceives it, pointing out that many of the “famous, well-known” authors out there “have nothing to do with writing,” casting shade on popular works like Dan Brown’s and calling the industry a “mess.” So what’s a hungry writer to do? Self-publish, sayeth the wizard:
“Publishing today is a complete mess. I know brilliant authors who can’t get their books published,” Moore says, explaining that many publishing houses are afraid of taking risks on fiction. Moore’s solution? “Publish yourself. Don’t rely upon other people.”
It’s rare and refreshing for an established writer to promote the potential boons of self-publishing and be honest about their perception of what lies behind the industry curtain. Of course, we expect some eccentricity from Moore, but we prefer this earnest truth-telling over the grumpy old man performances he’s given more recently. The video was recorded in 2011, which means we may be in need of a time-turning spell. More of this old Moore, please.