Thursday, January 07, 2016

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MILTON DAVIS, AUTHOR OF MEIJI, ON SELF-DETERMINATION PUBLISHING (MF GALAXY 059)


INDIE PUBLISHING BUSINESS SKILLS + ATTITUDES, EMULATION, DON’T OVERSTRESS GENRE, HOW TO ACT AT BOOK SHOWS, AND WHY YOU NEED TO ORGANISE YOUR OWN EVENTS, AND WHERE YOU SHOULD BE DOING IT

On his website, Milton Davis describes himself professionally as being a “full time chemist and a part time writer.” But I’d say he’s full-time both. Like any chemist, Davis is focused on creation, synthesis, reaction, and results. Theory’s not enough. Experimentation and production are the whole point.

Milton Davis writes Africentric science fiction, and also sword & soul, the Africentric answer to the Eurocentric fantasy subgenre sword & sorcery. He’s best known for his novel Meji, and he’s also a pioneer in the genre called steamfunk, the Africentric response to the unquestioned Eurocentric imperialism of steampunk.

Davis is also an independent publisher and the founder of MVMedia, an Atlanta-based company that publishes his work, novels by Balogun Ojetade, and anthologies that he and legendary novelist Charles R. Saunders edit. Davis went indie because he knew that he couldn’t wait for Euro-American Big Publishing to appreciate his work or even bother to try to sell to his audience.


As many of us have learned through bitter experience, too many editors in Eurocentric Big Publishing believe that Africans in the US, Canada, and elsewhere don’t read. MVMedia is just one example of how very wrong they are.

In today’s episode of MF GALAXY, Davis discusses:


  • The business skills and attitudes he brought to indie publishing and the knowledge he’s gained since starting
  • The indispensability of emulation
  • Why in your sales strategy, you shouldn’t place too much emphasis on genre
  • How you need to behave when you’re at a book table or book show with your books
  • Why you need to organise your own events, and where you should be doing it
  • How a science fiction site from Australia helped launch his career, and
  • How his embrace of Africanity stands in direct contrast to the current rejection of Africanity in the guise of emphasising so-called “Blackness”

Davis spoke with me from his home in Atlanta by Skype on December 11, 2015. At the beginning of our conversation you’ll hear someone coughing; that’s not me or Davis, but his son who was nearby.

I began by asking him what made him pursue indie publishing in the first place.

   
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