After threads on What is Crap? and the Kindle Turd Collection this is a refreshing change.
Or maybe I'm becoming lethargic from all the meetings I attend and missed the plot on those other 2 threads.
You know what I love about this crazy world of ebooks? Anyone can publish...You know what I hate about the crazy world of ebooks? The way the a new wave of self appointed gatekeepers have cropped up. People who whinge and complain and get their panties all in a bunch because they have decided very few writers are good enough to be part of what should be an elite club.
I agree that writers shouldn't try to put others down. However, I also think we have a responsibility as self-publishers to produce good quality books. We can't just put up a terribly edited, crazily formatted book and tell anyone who objects to "suck it."
If you want to make money, you have to offer a good product. That's that. If we didn't sell books but, say, hamburgers, would it be alright to throw all of the meat and condiments into a sloppy mess in a cheap tissue paper wrapper, and then snoot at the food critics who say it was impossible to eat for being "elitist?" Even if you're the greatest hamburger genius in the world, if your presentation gets in the way of enjoying the meal, people will look down on your stand.
Here, here. This is a brave new world we're living in and I've read some truly stupendous indie books in the last year, but I've also some that made me cringe from beginning to end - not because the writing's necessarily bad, but because the book just isn't ready to be published yet. Which is, in a way, even more dispiriting than if they were flat out crap.
The most exciting thing about being an indie and the gates being wide open is the amount of books I've read that defy genre, that can't be classified and would never in a million years have been picked up by a trad house.
Where are they? Traci you either scared them all away or they are sleeping late. I've read some crazy kindle books with new and interesting plots and atrocious 'English'. I really enjoyed what I read because it is new and fresh. For under 5 bucks, what more do you want?
I think it's seriously great that we have virtually no traditional 'gatekeepers' here deciding who shall and who shall not be published. It gives us a real chance to have a go and see how well we do.
All sorts of things can work and all sorts of rules can be bent or broken, but we can never escape the reality that whatever and however we write, we as self publishers need to please our ultimate Gatekeeper, the reader. How we go about it is down to each of us.
I celebrate the chance for absolutely anyone, regardless of experience, skill or wealth, to have a go – but I will never condone sloppy writing that irritates and hampers the reader. Too much bad press could indicate that maybe we need those traditional gatekeepers.
This chance to freely self publish means that all sorts will be out there. Great, but let's encourage, nurture and nag each other to improve our writing skills. And let’s do it without bringing in anything to bar anyone. I vote that we as author/publishers take the need for reader-friendly writing very seriously. We have to be seen to care deeply about such things because good spelling, punctuation and grammar help to carry the message swiftly to the reader.
Traci .. fantastic idea for thread. I second it wholeheartedly. There's some fantastically creative work out there which should be read with an open mind. There was a fantastic article in the guardian last week about it and the critic's favourite book was actually not one which was perfectly edited..
I get such a kick out of reading the words of some of these "gatekeepers". They populate every artistic media and never learn their lesson do they? Remember AM top 40 radio? You listened to the top 40 songs over and over because that what a "gatekeeper" picked for you. Then came indie FM college radio and changed the game, ushering in concepts like Tunecore, etc.. Now artists publish and release their own music and do quite well at it.
Same thing happened to fashion, and is happening to TV with streaming video. The world is changing and the "gatekeepers" just can't deal with it, can they?
If someone wants to publish a book that isn't very good, or, is crap, that's fine with me. What I'd like to see is a gatekeeper for the authors and their friends who attack reviewers. I've seen it a lot in the past few months, and it's bad for business. It's bad for us in particular
To be fair, there should be something in place to weed out the fake reviewers who attack an author unfairly. I have no idea how this could be done, but it is a concern.
As far as complaining about bad books, if I invest time and or money into a book, and it stinks, I have every right to criticize it. As a writer, it's none of my business, but as a reader, it is
Like almost all the others here I agree wholeheartedly with you. I think the only gatekeeper should be the reader.
I've formed the impression reading some of the other threads recently that too many of the gatekeepers are taking a snobbish view of other people's work and remind me too much of English teachers from my school days.
I'm probably wrong but I suspect that one of the earliest self-publlished authors was a certain W Shakespeare and he certainly didn't adhere to convention or genre - if you consider his works he probably has something in every one except maybe scifi. The world would be a much poorer place if he had fallen foul of the gatekeepers