YouTube of written texts
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YouTube of written texts
What are the opportunities for authors to publish and generate income beyond the traditional book and journal publishing axes? Is it begging if the author relies on reader contributions? Is it possible to create a new social media platform that complements rather than replaces the established publishing system? What can authors do to maintain their independence, not sell out, and make a living from writing? These were the questions discussed at the Panodyssey launch event in Budapest, which took place at the Margó Literature Festival and Bookfair in the autumn of 2022.
The French-initiated Panodyssey project aims to create an international community site where users can directly share and even monetize their own writing; in other words, writers can earn money by publishing their works. Panodyssey is aimed at writers of both fiction and non-fiction, giving everyone the opportunity to publish their own texts, whether they are professional journalists, researchers, or short story writers. Moreover, it connects writers with readers, giving them the freedom to collaborate on shared works and create their own communities of interest.
The project started in France, and the Creative Room European Alliance consortium is working to bring Panodyssey to other parts of Europe. The project brings together nine organisations from five countries. In Hungary, a total of six popular authors, the Panodyssey ambassadors, will show the platform's potential to professionals and amateurs alike, and will select the winners of the project's writing competitions. The winners will have the opportunity to have their writing featured in the pages of the Könyves Magazin and on the Panodyssey platform.
On October 13, 2022, participants had the opportunity to reflect on the project and its possibilities in a workshop with Barna Petrányi, the managing director of Pro progressione and lead of the Hungarian project coordination of Panodyssey; poet Márton Simon; Nikolet Antal, co-president of the Young Writers Association; Ferenc Czinki, president of the Society of Young Writers; and Norbert Alcser, managing director of nuuvella.hu, a community-based digital text collection.
In the first part of the workshop, László Valuska, Festival Director of Margó, and Barna Petrányi presented the possibilities of the Panodyssey project in Hungary. Petrányi said that the French founders were motivated when they started the project three years ago to create a community platform where they could focus on quality. Not only literary texts can be published on the platform, but all kinds of written texts, from fiction to political journalism to essays, so it is worth looking at it as a "YouTube of written content": a searchable, filterable platform open to anyone, but with stricter conditions for joining than Facebook, so that fake profiles can be filtered out.
In the second part of the workshop, the tension between traditional publishing and the potential of online publishing spaces was brought to the fore, providing a great opportunity for dynamic discussion. During the workshop, a lively debate emerged between the participants and the guest speakers on the principles of the new social media platforms and online publishing in connection to income sources for authors. The "new" and the "old" publishing traditions were discussed, mentioning community building, the book industry, and the often impossible-to-win public writing tenders.
The last part of the workshop focused on young writers, with Nikolett Antal and Ferenc Czinki. Antal said that it should be the responsibility of those working with young writers to monitor “insta-poetry”, but those who join young writers programmes and camps, even since their high school years, are taking the first step towards joining the traditional publishing system. Ferenc Czinki expressed that the way he sees it, authors who use social media platforms are in the minority, but when he gets into contact with young authors, they almost always choose to start with online publications such as on Instagram, "not because they can't get into journals, but because it's their first idea".
Photo taken by Zsófia Kováts.
Discmlaimer: The above article is the English translation of the original Hungarian article published on Könyves Magazin.