There was a ridiculous article last week in the Wall Street Journal called “Cherish The Book Publishers – You’ll Miss Them When They’re Gone.”
I was going to write a take-down of this, but Kris Rusch and Joe Konrath beat me to it. You should check out both their responses. Krus Rusch goes point-by-point, and Joe Konrath, in a post titled “The Tsunami of Crap”, laughs at the ridiculousness of it all:
“Some people believe the ease of self-publishing means that millions of wannabe writers will flood the market with their crummy ebooks, and the good authors will get lost in the morass, and then family values will go unprotected and the economy will collapse and the world will crash into the sun and puppies and kittens by the truckload will die horrible, screaming deaths.”
Michael Stackpole weighed in too with an exploration of the genesis of this myth. All worth reading.
I’m not going to follow suit, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel, and this carp is already riddled with bullets. In any event, I’ve already dealt conclusively with the myth that a “mountain of crap” will prevent good writers from making a living in this blog post.
Also, as Kris Rusch pointed out, it’s hardly a new story, and snooty bloggers, as well as various people invested in the status quo, have been pushing this line for some time.
I’m sure you remember last month’s hullabulloo instigated by one publisher hysterically claiming that 99c self-published e-books were “destroying minds“.
What was interesting to me about this Wall Street Journal article was that it was trying to elicit sympathy for the billion dollar corporations that have lost their monopoly over book distribution.
And it was also trying to spread fear about how horrible the world would be without the gatekeepers that shut out tons of new writers to pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into books by Snooki and The Situation.
But I don’t want to talk about that. Instead, I want to look at all the terrible developments since the rise of self-publishing:
1. No More Disappearing Genres. Before, if you were a fan of a genre that New York declared “dead”, as happened with Horror and Westerns, you would struggle to find any new books. Self-publishers have shown their is life in these genres, and that readers were craving new books. This is good for readers and good for writers.
2. Writers have more options. So you went on submission with your agent, and only got one lousy offer. Before, your only choice was to swallow your pride and accept, or write another book. Now you can self-publish, make some money, build your audience, and still pursue that trade publishing dream if you wish. And, if you could never crack the system, now you are no longer barred from reaching your readers.
This one was getting a bit long, so if you want to read the rest, pop over to: