[i]"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.""[/i]
But stupid people need books too!
Seriously, since most of the books from traditional publishers suck, then I would fully expect most books from indies to also suck. But one out of every two people you meet has below average intelligence, and they probably like a lot of those sucky books. In fact, it may be all they can handle.
Also, sometimes the worst storytellers have the best stories. It may not happen often, but we all know some examples of writers with great stories that don't tell them well. [i]Pilgrim's Progress[/i] for instance set the world on its head, but the writing is very mediocre and by a man with almost no education at all. Heart always come through though.
I remember reading that interview with Picoult and I was thinking that she's way behind the times. She speaks from her own experience which is to be expected but her experience is limited to trad publishing. Like you said quite a few things in that interview that she said could be turned against her.
I can't believe in all this talk of traditional publishers caring more about what sells than what's good, nobody has mentioned the name of Robert James Waller. Is anyone here old enough to remember the huge buzz surrounding the original publication of "The Bridges of Madison County?" That little stinker was on every coffee table from Maine to Mogadishu, and the publisher put out another carbon-copy "novel" as well as a book of essays by Waller before people's good taste came back on-line.
Now, the funny thing is, at the time Waller was a professor of marketing at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, and he made no secret of the fact that all he really cared about was the huge pile of money he was making from his books. In every interview I ever saw, the man was laughing his arrogant head off about his sales figures, but never said one word about his "art" or the craft or themes or meaning of his work. He was the perfect darling of the traditional publishing industry.
Now, those millions of copies he sold are probably choking countless recycling centers if they're not taking up space in the local landfill, and the publishing industry has long since moved on.
I have not read any of her books. However I did take the time to look at rankings and reviews she has received. She really doesn't seem to be all that. I think the article made her look poorly advised.
Yes, Traci: I just think about the sitcoms that last forever on TV. At least in the US, and the reality shows. I have my favorites and to me they are of a 'higher class' but the ones I think stink are way more popular. But with KDP and self publishing, I really think the Gatekeeper mentality - that is for Amazon to review each book for some amorphous set of minimum quality before allowing the self-publication - stems from the frustration of getting noticed. If we could just weed everybody else out "My book" would get noticed. And it goes without saying the Pro - Gatekeeper's books would sell millions if only they could get noticed because they are written perfectly.
And the big 6 are panicking and threatening too. As if Amazon a mighty giant is going to care if they withdraw their books. The authors of the big 6 will be furious about loosing the Amazon market place and dump them. They might even go indie and get more royalties. They have nothing to loose if they are an established name.
Power to the indies and the real gatekeepers - the readers.