During the Great Depression, the United States government funded programs to provide jobs for out-of-work writers. The Federal Writer’s Project grew out of the larger Works Progress Administration, which, under the New Deal, created many public-works programs in a variety of fields and industries. Do we need such a program today?
The FWP employed thousands of people, including writers, researchers, librarians, historians, editors -- and produced hundreds of publications, including state guides, city guides, local histories ethnographies, and children’s books. The FWF, established July 27, 1935, lasted until 1943, during World War Two. Its mission was to create a unique self-portrait of America.
Of course, people would question if one can write freely under the auspices of a government grant. Well, the answer is of course not. Follow the money! But this doesn’t mean we can’t have a situation where the government funds writers without strings attached.
Anyone who gets paid to write should receive a tax break. Why not? We give out tax breaks to everybody, it seems, so to throw a few bucks towards our nation\s creative genius would be a helpful act. Writers, in turn, if successful, will pay more in taxes and have discretionary revenue available to donate to good causes that help society function.
Why do writers need government funds?
- Because most publishers are cheap with royalties.
- Self-publishing costs little to publish but only pays off when you invest in marketing. That takes money.
- Too many readers will borrow, pirate, or shoplift a book rather than pay for it. Authors get ripped off.
- Writers work hard at an important task- and deserve to survive and thrive. Let’s trust them fairly.
- The nation values crafty capitalism over crafty writers, rewarding people who don’t always work as hard, or contribute as much as writers do to society.
Bookstores could use some government funding, provided no strings are attached.
Libraries always need more funding, too.
Let’s make America great again by taking care of those who inform, enlighten, inspire, and entertain us.
For more information on what the FWP was -- and could again be today -- check out Republic of Detours: How The New Deal Paid broke Writers to Rediiscover America, by Scott Borchert.
“What makes a bookshelf a bookshelf isn’t a given thing. Every bookshelf has its own unique life history; every bookshelf speaks to its own cultural context. Bookshelves are dynamic, iterative objects that cue us to the social values we place on books and how we think books ought to be read. What makes a bookshelf a bookshelf are the recurring decisions made about its structure, architecture, and function.” -Bookshelf by Lydia Pine
“What I do expect, or at least hope for, is that smaller, more flexible, and nimbler independent publishers will emerge as an ever more important alternative for authors, editors, designers, agents, and publishing professionals. The ability to control the means of production, after all, has long been a rallying cry; this extends to the means of reproduction as well. Publishing has for too long held on to archaic practices; let’s smash them and reinvent new ways to make and sell books.” -So You Want to Publish A Book?
“A bottle of wine contains more philosophy than all the books in the world.” -Louis Pasteur, Biologist
“The best way to avoid a hangover is to stay drunk.” -Dorothy Parker, Humorist
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” --George Bernard Shaw
“If I hadn’t written my stories, some other hand would have.” -William Faulkner
“Libraries, like museums, are a refuge from old age, sickness and death.” -Jean Grenier
“To build up a library is to create a life. It is never merely a random collection of books” -The Paper House
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About Brian Feinblum
Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2021. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent. This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America. For more information, please consult: .