Here's the link to a First Things piece by poet Dana Gioia entitled "The Catholic Writer Today: Encouraging Catholic writers to renovate and reoccupy their own tradition."
Basically what he says is that Catholics today have no coherent, visible presence in the arts, which is true.
One reason is that publishing houses, both Catholic and mainstream, are driven by "the market." Thus, all must tend toward the non-"threatening;" all must fit into one of the "dull categories" Pope Francis is urging us to break out of.
Another is that the writer, if published by a Catholic press, is invited to live in abject poverty. The average advance from a Catholic press is three to seven thousand dollars. That's for a year or two of the blood, sweat and tears required to write a book. You'll earn that back, if at all, on an 88-12 net royalty split (that's industry-wide, and in favor of the publisher), which works out on every, say, ten-dollar book, to 60 or 70 cents to the writer.
The people who can subsist on those kind of wages are generally priests and nuns; those otherwise supported by foundations, orders, for-profit organizations, or families; the independently wealthy; or the truly crazy beggar-fools for Christ.
Flannery O'Connor once said "I'd trade ten readers now for one reader a hundred years from now."
I feel that way, too.
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