29 Dec

Publishing a book.
It’s a thing.
A big thing.
Always has been.
Even though the bar has been lowered down to below sealevel due to publishing agencies no longer having the monolpoly on declaring certain writers ‘good enough to print’.
It’s still not something everybody does.
OK, better put: does right.
It being made possible for everyone intelligent enough to push a few buttons on the internet, doesn’t make you a great writer. It makes you a printer. There’s lots of printers, which mostly don’t do your job properly (as you know, how many times have you yelled at your printer, damned it to hell and slapped it around with its own cartridge?)
You have to be able to do marketing just right. If you’re only good at the writing part, then that’s unfortunate.
Because you need to be able to put your writing on the market, with marketing. If you can’t do that, selling books is gonna cost you a lot of money. Because instead of publishers not publishing your books because they’re -in their opinion-not good enough, you now have to invest in either an agent, or a marketeer. We all know people with expertise cost. They don’t cost a penny, they cost you a kidney.

Unless you’re already famous for something. In that case, you’re in luck. You don’t even need talent when you’re already famous. People will buy your book, be disappointed that you can’t actually write when they’ve read it, but it’s too late for them by then, they have bought your book and this was your goal, so yay!

People are incredibly desperate to know your face, what you’re about, if you tuck your Nan in at night, if you eat politically correct, if you have any aspirations being the best Guitar Hero in the world. They want to know every sodding thing about you. Your story barely matters. You are what’s important.

I’ve noticed that ever since the big publishing offices have made a big downfall because of the POD-possibillities (Print On Demand, accessable for and to anyone), the quality of most works have made the same fall.
Walking in a bookstore, actually finding a pearl of good words hidden within the pages of a book, has become quite rare. This didn’t used to be the case, as far as I recall.
What astonishes me more though, is the fact that where it was formerly the Big Industry of Books, it now has become a sport to suck writers dry of their talents and success by agents and all types of schools that offer courses, writing competitions, and all for money.
In England and America, you need to have an agent. Without an agent, not even the smallest publisher will touch your manuscript. Agents cost money. They know they can live of the money that someone else is worth on their behalf. The good old ‘I’ve discovered him/her, so I should get some of their money’, and  ‘without me, you’re nothing. You’re a nobody, no-one will know you’. It’s quite depressing.
I must say I’m quite disgusted by how many small, talentless businesses have risen due to publishers no longer being the headmaster of publishing, but a whole new segment of the market has found its way to the shore that calls itself publishing.

For a writer this means that nothing has changed much. S/he still has to pay a lot of money to get anything done. Being talented is for free. They way of getting acknowledgement is anything but. Writers have, usually, no idea where to start. People are far more keen on telling you how your writing sucks than to tell you they were actually moved by something you wrote.
The only thing that has changed, is that an agent will provide you with feedback, the thing publishers won’t bother him/herself with.
There’s loads of websites where you can find courses to learn how to write better, how to improve the letter you mean to send to a publisher. You can enter a competition to at least earn some kind of audience.
None of them are free. None. They all cost. They claim it’s to maintain a certain level of quality. It’s not.
You can start a blog though. This is free. No agent or publisher will ever find its way to it naturally, but given they are, most of the time, not your friend, it is a great way to grow an audience.

Meanwhile, critisms and reviews are still expected to be for free. I don’t buy it.

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Posted by on December 29, 2014 in Books, Opinion


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