It’s been another of those weeks that makes me wonder about the value and fate of those of us who work in the publishing world. After years of working in this industry, I’ve discovered I don’t like the new world very much at all for many reasons. Lack of talent is only part of it–the lack of decency, integrity, and any respect for others is a HUGE factor in what’s essentially making this entire creative art a pile of shit and a veritable cesspool.
Over the past couple of years in particular I’ve watched trends. There are more publishers cropping up than weeds in a garden because opportunists see a way to make some easy money for little investment. There are literally millions of people who want to publish a book, and believe they have the talent to be the next superstar of the literary world. If you can’t find a publisher who agrees with you–the giant machine called Amazon offers you an alternative, SELF-PUBLISH! Once the bane and joke of the “real” world of publishing, this too has become the vanity way to make a quick buck and call yourself a published author.
I think what annoys me the most is not that people everywhere are publishing their own books, but that the quality of those books is in MOST cases so poor. For those who employ editors, decent cover artists, and genuinely care about their work–I applaud your determination and your efforts. But how many of the new breed simply write it, slap a stock image on it, and place it into Amazon’s marketing machine? TOO MANY!
A lot of serious and seasoned authors are revealing common complaints when they confer. One of them being the arrogance that dominates the world of Indie publishing. Facebook is filled with groups of these authors who proudly proclaim that they will never subject themselves to editors who want nothing more than to undermine the integrity of their prose and art. Really? I have to admit, statements like that make me gape in stupefied wonder. There are a lot of words that will spring to mind when other authors read declarations like that–I don’t think “professional” will be among them. Lesson #1 for ANY author to learn–there are no perfect books. Before or after publication.
I’ve talked to several industry insiders, and they all say the same thing, the trend is shifting and there is a slow but inexorable movement back toward quality of writing. This is very good news for writers who care about the work they’re producing more than they do twisting writhing bodies into impossible situations. Erotic romance is a booming business and that’s unlikely to change, but what does need to change is the quality of those works. and others that are being fed into the mainstream of publishing. It speaks badly when reviewers actually complain about good grammar and proper word usage, and it’s happening because of the glut of utter shit that is all over the market at the moment.
Writers have two choices facing them as they wait for the industry to slow its frenetic rush to publish the next Fifty Shades of Grey phenomena. It’ll happen, but is very likely years away. So, in the meantime, everyone who’s rediscovered, or discovered reading because of the media frenzy around one set of books–these readers will need to find solid books to keep them reading now. Just my personal opinion, but I’d like to think the coming years will produce a far superior product than what’s dominating the market now, in both large houses and small. So, writers can continue to write down to their readers, and titillate them with stories that ten years ago would have been strictly classed as pornography, OR they can start to focus on writing stories that have readers thinking and feeling on all levels. There’s a lot to be said for romance that is sensual and actually romantic.
We, as artists/writers can either learn to do our jobs better all the time by working and growing, or we can fall back on the arrogance and posturing that is rapidly becoming the trademark of mid-level authors. Don’t kid yourself, it’s very true. The new common is a two-fold problem: never before published authors who think they can start at the top of the business because they’re too good to work their way up. Mid-level, moderately successful authors who somehow think it’s not career suicide to attack and malign other writers and slander their publishers when things don’t go their way. In a different business, these people would be in the gutter by end of day for some of the shit that is routinely pulled in the publishing world at this time. All in all, I know what I am, a nobody who works hard, and tries not to compromise my personal principles. That may mean I’m never a success, but at least I’ve produced what I hope are entertaining stories, and I didn’t step all over other people to make it happen.
Success is defined in different ways for different people, but arrogance and ego are ugly in any profession when they’re all you really have to offer.