I’ve decided to stop using the No Media Kings imprint for my work. I started using it back in 2000, and the media context has shifted drastically: things are so much weirder now. Who knew back then that the kind of print media consolidation I was concerned about would seem quaint in the face of Facebook’s billions of users? That the self-publishing game-changer would be a kinky e-book that came in 50 Shades of Grey? That Rupert Murdoch’s machiavellian publishing manoeuvres would pale in comparison to his overtly pro-Nazi mouthpiece, Fox News?
Originally I started NMK to self-publish my second novel Angry Young Spaceman. The zine community had shown me that you didn’t need a corporate logo to publish good work. My experience with HarperCollins, who published my first book, was positive in many ways — I got lots of attention and my editors were lovely — but I was more drawn to the idea of demonstrating you could publish independently by choice, not as a last resort. With that one decision I aimed to get out from under the shadow of Murdoch, who owned HarperCollins, and help banish the spectre of vanity press once and for all.
I made my living for a decade this way, publishing 6 books independently and building community as part of the project: providing DIY publishing articles and starting an indie press touring circuit that ran for four years. As I followed my interests into feature filmmaking and videogames, I used the No Media Kings imprint for those as well. The last thing I put out with the No Media Kings logo was an iPhone game called Wonderland, a historical audio drama with puzzles — a far cry from the sci-fi novel I started the project with.
And it’s not just the medium, over time my attitude has also shifted: in my rebellious 20s, the agitational “NO!” in No Media Kings rang true. But these days at 45 I’m more of a “Yes, and…” kind of guy. I think it’s possible for artists to make deals with larger entities that are symbiotic rather than parasitic — I’ve been creating partnerships for a non-profit for the last two years. I would work with a corporation again if the conditions were right, though I still don’t want to do business with Murdoch. (I mean, that guy is the worst. For the last little while I wondered if I could just wait til he died to end the project, but I’m sure that’d bring me bad karma. Not on the scale of a climate change denier having wildfires burn down his house, but probably pretty bad.)
While NMK doesn’t suit me these days, it’s been an incredible experience to get to have and I feel honoured to have been its standard bearer for a while. If anyone who was inspired by the spirit of No Media Kings wants to use the logo, I’ll make the same offer I made back in 2000 — download it and use it however you like. I’d love to see it live on in some mutated form. A bunch of people have used it for their books and zines and more: once Dmytri bought a NMK patch off some punk girls in a flea market in Berlin!
I’ll still be doing politically engaged creative work — the world needs it more than ever — but I’ll be doing it under my own name over at jimmunroe.net. If you’d like to keep hearing from me, please subscribe here. 2018 is going to be a reflective year for me: I’ve made some breakthroughs and I’d like to share them with you!