Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The other dead horse

This horse is so dead the flies have stopped laying eggs on it.  I’m so tired of this old story I don’t really want to talk about but it has to be said again. Because I have to get it off my chest. Who knows, in a year or two you might see a variation on this theme here again.

There is a perception in certain circles of the media that if you’re self- or small/independent press published that your writing is automatically substandard. I have encountered newspaper editors and journalists who tell me to my face that “Oh, your book isn’t a real book”. Why? Just because it’s epublished on Kindle and Smashwords and you can print on demand via a platform like CreateSpace or Lightning Source now suddenly this is not a real book?

No. Really. (Notwithstanding that a quality author-published title has probably undergone similar hours and hours of editing, proofing and layout.)

I need to digress slightly to make a point. I review books for the newspapers, as well as on my blog and on Goodreads and Amazon. I read about 80 to 100 books a year. I make a point of reading an even split of author-, small press- and traditionally published books.

And let me tell you something… I am often gobsmacked by the utter dreck brought out by some of the bigger houses. Stuff that wouldn’t fly with a small press or a particular respected indie author gets thousands of dollars thrown at it by a large house. This gets sold in national retailers. People buy it and read it because it’s *there*. It gets written about and featured on TV programmes and then generates even more hype, while other, worthy projects are sidelined without a cursory glance.

I love books. I don’t care *how* they’re created. If the story resonates with me, I’ll read it and absolutely adore the hell out of it and give it lots of love on social media. To have literati snobs slant the media against those who’re genuinely passionate about writing, so much so that they’ll go through the pain and anguish of doing it themselves. That just makes me sad.

That’s not saying that all people *should* be publishing their stories, because, let’s face, not everyone writes deathless prose. And some of them probably *do* need a bit more polish. But FFS don’t tar and feather every author- or small press-published book with the same brush.

Now listen here, what I’m going to say here is very important. There is a time and place for each model of publishing. Sometimes your writing will only have appeal to a small, niche readership. Then, by all means, self-publish. Or allow a small press that’s geared toward your particular brand of writing publish you (for instance, fantasy fiction with a GLBTI theme). That being said, the traditional houses also have something to offer, and there is NOTHING WRONG with being traditionally published. They have amazing resources at hand and I'd jump at the opportunity if and when it presents itself.

But for the love of Dog, don’t discriminate.

There is no pleasing all the readers all of the time.

The book you’re reading won’t appeal to everyone, and that makes it no better or no worse than any other. If you want to find out whether a particular book is good, go read the reviews. Sites like Goodreads and Amazon will offer a wealth of opinions. Then go make up your mind yourself.
And you know what, if boinkfests involving velociraptors are your thing, then you should have all the rights in the world to buy and read as much of it as you want.

So long as you don’t tell me to stop reading about androgynous bisexual boy vamps, elves or shape-shifting telepathic dragons.

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