In order to produce quality literature, Hernan Casciari has used the “Orsai” project to open a path for himself in the strict and imposed realm of editorial business.
“Orsai”: a new (more horizontal and fairer) way of making literature /
From a romanticised perspective, one can think that literature is built upon the decisions made by two characters: the writer and the reader. A writer should be able to send his or her work into the world and the reader can reward or ignore him for it, recognise the quality of the work, the writer’s talent or the complete absence of any literary value.
In real life however, this is not how it works. Perhaps it never has worked like this, but in modern times, when practically anything is destined to become sales goods, submitted to the market’s practices, to its non-written rules, to strategies that manipulate its exchange value so that it can potentiate profits; literature is a product.
In order to escape these mechanisms, and to open a gap for editorial authenticity and autonomy, Hernan Casciari founded Orsai a few years ago, a magazine born from his disenchantment with the world of big editorial enterprises, literary agents, publicists, newspapers, distributors and, in general, with all the “middle-men” (as Casciari put it) that hinder the communication between writers and readers —and vice versa.
With the purpose of fostering an authentic dialogue between the true protagonists of the literary scene, Casciari created a risky editorial model which replaced the usual sources of financing and diffusion, and instead he put his entire trust in his readers and the horizontal nature of the Net.
In the end his risk taking paid off: the Argentinian and his friends lived to see the project succeed. The surprising level of sympathy shown by those who already followed Casciari’s blog translated into the sales of the printed version of the magazine, which guaranteed high quality literature and design. In the same manner, on the authorial side, “Orsai” has an online counter that allows the writers to know how many copies of the magazine or books have been sold, where and by whom even, so that any given writer can potentially thank a specific reader; a gesture of transparency and familiarity that is rarely seen in the editorial world.
In sum, in the history of literature, “Orsai”, has become a never-before-seen platform, and one which remains in sync with the present moment. Casciari’s is a project that creates optimal conditions so that authors and readers can participate in that other type of conversation: the written word.
Tagged: literature, Hernan Casciari, Orsai magazine, independent publishing houses