Kick me under the table all you want

I need to run up that hill

This week, I’ve been thinking about the green button on the bottom of the Substack screen I use to write these newsletters:

Who is subject of the sentence, for which the verb, the action, is “publish”? Who is the agent? Me, the one who clicks the button, or the entity that created the button to be pushed? It’s the entity, clearly. It’s Substack. Substack publishes this newsletter. Substack creates the design, handles the distribution, helps market. But only if readers become paying subscribers does the publisher receive money for creating this infrastructure: definitely not a traditional publishing model! Sure, we may have decided to call Substack, Wordpress, TinyLetter, and other similar companies “platforms,” but let’s be honest: they are publishers.

I love this chart that appears up top when you google “etymology of publishing”":

The Ngram chart is pretty cool too (the peak is the mid 90s, hello internet):

Why all this thinking about publishing and Substack? Because a few days ago I received an email from Substack informing me I had been awarded a no-strings-attached independent writer grant. They did the same for dozens other newsletter writers, spending $100,000 in total. Here is their newsletter about it. Read it, and maybe sign up and sample some new newsletters.

My response to the news was what one might expect: It alleviated some anxiety. It made me want to do more, and better newsletters. And it made me very, very appreciative of my newfangled, somewhat invisible ('“frictionless,” barf) publisher.

Let’s all give Substack a round of 👏👏👏👏 to thank them (and/or become a paying subscriber to this or other newsletters to support them).

In other surprising and welcome news, Belt publishing did indeed receive the fabled, confusing, and seemingly corrupt PPP funding after all. Yet again our checking account suddenly swole up unexpectedly. NO ONE WILL BE FURLOUGHED.

Restoring what had once been expected can be as exhilarating as an unexpected award. This week, of the situation inside my house, and my business, I have no complaints. (I know, right?)

What I’m Reading: Despite the paragraph above, no one should be thinking about ‘restoring’ much of anything. We need to be reimagining. I’ve been surprised at how little I have read in that vein. But this gorgeous Gabrielle Hamilton essay is the best of what I hope will become a new genre. I can’t wait to see what she dreams up next.

Shout Out: The ACLU of Ohio, and all attorneys who have been advocating on behalf the incarcerated during COVID. They won a major victory this week. Now we need to help them file and win more. We all should be paying more attention to the plight of the incarcerated.

Stay home, stay encouraged, stay healthy.

Notes from a Small Press is a weekly newsletter by the founder and owner of Belt PublishingHelp support it by becoming a paid subscriber. Pre-order So You Want to Publish a Book?, a book based on the newsletter, publishing in July.