This Forbes Magazine opinion piece by David Vinjamuri addresses many of the things I’ve been thinking about and worrying about lately: Publishing Is Broken, We’re Drowning in Indie Books, and That’s a Good Thing.
Don’t let the title keep you from clicking. It’s not all self-publishing triumphalism, by a long shot:
Last year I noticed that books were getting cheaper, but the writing was getting worse. It started to get harder and harder to shop the Kindle store because I was either upset by the price of a book or the quality of its writing. Accidentally, I had stumbled upon the new face of self-publishing.
Like Vinjamuri, I, too, am excited by the possibilities of self-publishing to open up the literary world to voices and energies that would never seem worthwhile to a profit-minded New York establishment. New York doesn’t pick books because they are good. New York picks books because they are similar to other books that happen to have sold in the past. It’s so true it makes me want to puke.
But Vinjamuri, and I, both hate most of the self-published novels we’ve ever bought. They’re mostly crap! It’s an undeniable fact.
How do you reconcile these two realities? How can you be excited about self-publishing while simultaneously despairing of its impact and output? That’s what the article is about.
I should mention, too, that Sue Grafton, one of the big name authors Vinjamuri quotes when he talks about the anti-self-publishing backlash, has, herself, backpedalled quite adroitly and graciously away from her original, outrageously cranky, position vis a vis self-publishers.