Monday, November 13, 2006

Hard cash and glory



I read the words.

I read them again.

And every time I am amazed that the words I read are not the words of a published author. I read them everywhere. They pop up on blogs, in journals, poetry sites, short stories and in half-formed manuscripts.

Some words are good, rich, thick with meaning that leaves a pleasantly cloying aftertaste. Others are light, feather-like, tickling my fancy, making me laugh and smile at their cleverness. All are good and worthy of a lasting paper memoir. And yet most of these writers are on the verge of giving up, or gave up years ago, drowning under an avalanche of rejection slips handed out by an agent/publisher who has just experienced his first 'bestseller' orgasm.

Don't get me wrong, books should be not be elitist. Everyone is entitled to read, and my own shelves sag under the weight of the good, the bad and the downright ugly. But tell me, when are publishers going to get their bravery back? When are they going to stop this madness that makes them reject the gold, in favour of hard cash and glory? Isn't it about time that we went back to the values that made a book a 'keeper'?

15 comments:

Claire said...

When are publishers going to get their bravery back?

This is a very good question!

Saaleha said...

did you have to tell everyone that this is how I feel. Man! And I thought I could trust you!! sniff.

Marie said...

Totally agree, Minx. I'm sick and tired of seeing all those books by so-called celebs knowing that they didn't sit on their own backsides going blind at the computer to write!

Debi said...

I'm not sure if or when change might come in the traditional end of the sector.

But fear not, my sweets. It will come - though probably from a different angle - and when it does, we'll be waiting! Gonna be a blast!

Maxine said...

But do you know the figures for how many books are published a year by mainstream publishers? And how many are not bought? It is quite frightening.

I don't disagree with your point in the least, Minx -- as a reader of course I want access to good writing and not, as Marie correctly points out (or at least I think that is Marie's name lurking in that purply black against black background?) who wants celeb bios? NOt me.
But someone must do. Publishing is a business, after all, not a charity.
POD is one solution, linked to something like Google book search/Amazon as a "wisdom of the readers" approach so that readers can vote and popular books float up to the top of the returns. but would you get celeb bios that way? Someone is reading the darn things.

Anyway, I do agree with your sentiments, Minx, but it would not be economically sustainable for all the writers who aren't published to be published, would it?

Confucious Trevaskis said...

A few more would be a good start.......

Minx careful waht you say about publishers.....I believe that yours read this blog........

Confucious Trevaskis said...

That should be what.or maybe not

Buntifer Green said...

Amen

Minx said...

I think what I was trying to say Maxine, is that good writing is definitely being overlooked in favour of a large pair of breasts with a ghost written autobiography.
Historically publishing was seen more as a vocational job, for the love of the game - so to speak. Today, as in all things, it is money driven. And we all know that the quickest way to make the money is to overlook the gems in favour of the c-list star whose straining bust will fill the supermarket shelves.
No, I don't think everything should be published, of course not, and folk will buy what they want.
But take a look around,there is writing out there is writing out there that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and that deserves a chance.Is no one willing to take a risk anymore?

Roberta said...

Okay, okay. After I get the girls gift ready I'll look into publishing the damn thing.

;)

Maybe.

Sharon J said...

The publishing industry is fast becoming reminiscent of the gossip mag culture. It's all about books revealing which celeb bedded who and when and after how much to drink. Obviously these books appeal to a certain sector of the reading population and if publishers are to be believed when they say they publish what there's a demand for, then those of us who still want to read a damned good story are obviously in the minority.

Caroline said...

I so get this and it really upsets me.
I want to read stories.
I want to be told a story.
Is that too much to ask for????

Cx

windscreen fly said...

As much as I would love to bash publishers they are business people who are there to make a profit. Their decisions will be based on marketing research and what the market wants. Sadly, it seems, this dumbed down society (this is a subject no one wants to get me started on!!!) of ours is swayed more by celebrity names on a cover rather than the quality of content. It's readers we must change...publishers will always be the money sucking capatlist vampires they always have been! Great post!

jason evans said...

So true Minx. I'm grateful that blogs have provided this amazing outlet while we all struggle.

Maxine said...

Hmm. I agree that a lot of rubbish is published. But go into any bookshop and look at the "newly published" tables. There is loads of good stuff there. Far more than one person can read in a lifetime.

Of course, excellent work is not published, and rubbish is. But also, lots of very good stuff is published too.

I am not trying to be contrary, but success is difficult in any endeavour, not just writing. eg scientists-- they have expanded the universities so more people can be educated to a higher level than when I was young, but has it resulted in better scientific (or other subjects') research being done?

It isn't only writers who find it tough-- only a few people make it to the top of any profession, and only a few writers, proportionally, get published (if one defines that as "the top" for the profession of author), however good they are. It is tough out there. I don't think one can blame publishers for publishing books that may be intellectually poor but that make a profit - even if the book gets poor sales there are lots of spinoff benefits to the publisher.