Don’t worry Iowa MFA students, your unpublishable manuscripts are still safe

Last week, I posted about protests by grad students at the University of Iowa about putting their theses up online. Apparently, the MFA students won. And thus the title of this post.

(Deep sigh, followed by chuckle.)

For what it’s worth, my dissertation has been online for about 12 years now. Now, for a bunch of reasons I won’t go into now, I wasn’t really thinking about turning it into a book. But if I had tried to make it into a book (I think its too late at this stage), I would have had to revise to a point where I would have ended up writing a new book based on the diss, meaning that the print version would be notably different from the online version. I think this is pretty much par for the course for anyone trying to take a thesis or a dissertation to the next level, creative or not. Conversely, I can think of nothing but good things that have come from putting my diss up online. A couple of different scholarly things have come my way over the years because of this, I get emails from people who stumble across the site once in a while, and I still get around 100-150 hits a week on the site. So for me, putting my diss up online had no downsides and modest positives.

I appreciate that these MFA folks are hoping to be the next Vonnegut or ZZ Packer or something. But I dunno, this guy seems to do okay and he puts all of his fiction out there for free.

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