One of the focuses of INDIEPUBCON 2021 this year is the further transformation of how literature is produced, presented to the public, and consumed privately by individuals. In the years shaped by the pandemic and social distancing, it is challenging to adumbrate the contours of independent publishing, especially if people are unable to meet in large numbers. Common physical distribution channels are discouraged, and consumers are wary of risking physical events as anyone can still get COVID-19.
What has been inspiring in the months that led farther from the first time that the virus landed on our shores are the writers, artists, and creators who found old-new ways to express themselves and, more importantly, publish their works. While the digital spaces are virtually unlimited and there is little standing in the form of pushing out new works of literature, creators and cultural workers still have to create systems that allow them to produce, distribute and reach their intended audiences. This is perhaps one of the more challenging tasks of independent publishers saddled with limited budgets, smaller audiences, and more limited channels for publishing and distribution. Nevertheless, it is enlightening that many cultural workers continue to innovate and shape the answer to “how can we do this” despite these trying times.
Independent publishers, creators, and writers are now also acknowledging the presence of ever-growing digital humanities systems in the Philippines, shaped in part by various forces, structures, and agents in the field. While the concept has always existed, the demand for digital humanities as a purposeful attempt to study literature and art, for instance, in the school setting, was not just emphasized but rushed during the pandemic.
With partial loss of access to teachers and school facilities, how do people fare with just their smartphones and other digital devices? Did the current circumstances change the reading habits or preferences of people? Many questions need to be answered, and INDIEPUBCON 2021 is only at the beginning of what could be years of exploration to discover how the pandemic has changed how people intrinsically view and consume literature.
Another tangent that INDIEPUBCON 2021 is attempting to touch is that we are a Third World country. The formation of digital humanities necessitates scant and often out of reach in the Philippines—reliable internet, for example, is still a considerable expense and one that is barely affordable if a person were to utilize digital resources for personal schooling consumption fully. There is also the need to address the interactions between publishers, writers and their readers, as well as how the educational system is positioning writers and literature at the same time within the larger structure of learning.
And so the INDIEPUBCON 2021, will be hosting the talk “Indie on the Cutting Edge” with speaker Kristian Cordero of Savage Minds Bookshop. Kristian is a fictionist, filmmaker, translator, and poet based in Bikol. Kristian writes in Filipino, Bikol, and Rinconada and has translated Rilke, Wilde, Kafka, and Borges. His debut volume of poetry in each of his three languages earned the Madrigal-Gonzales Best First Book Award in 2006, and two of his most recent collections received National Book Awards in 2014. He is the Ateneo de Naga University Press’s deputy director. Kristian will be discussing the challenges of independent publishing in Naga in the Bikol region, as well as a new book—Himati—published by the Savage Mind Publishing House, the NCCA and the Ateneo De Naga Press, as it explores the renewed facets of literature, from orality to bringing addressing the needs of newer audiences.
Catch Kristian S. Cordero on Sunday, November 21 at 6:00 p.m. live via TIPC-PH’s Facebook Page and YouTube channel, where he will talk about mainstreaming indie and innovations in indie publishing, especially during the pandemic.