Tuesday, July 05, 2011

The Tsunami of Crap

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.

Or something like that.

This is bullshit, of course. A myth. A fabrication. One rooted in envy and fear.

Readers aren't the ones worried about the scores of new ebooks being released. They have no need to be worried. There are already billions of books in the world. A few more million won't make a difference.

Readers are able to find what they want, quite easily. They can go into a bookstore and come out with a purchase, even though that store stocks 150,000 titles. They can go into a library, and ten minutes later walk out with a handful of books that interest them.

There are millions of websites, and YouTube videos, and things to buy on Amazon.com. There are thousands of choices on cable TV and Netflix and Hula. Yet we're always able to find gems.

No, the readers don't care if some moron uploads his ten-years-in-the-making opus "Me and My Boogers: A Love Story." They'll be able to avoid it just by looking at the crummy cover art, the poor description, and the handful of one star reviews.

Readers don't care if something is self-pubbed or not. They've read books they don't like by legacy publishers, and they may find books they don't like by indie authors, but they aren't going to give up reading. In fact, they're going to help each other find good things to read. Goodreads.com is a perfect example of readers becoming gatekeepers, sharing reviews and recommendations.

Anyone paying the slightest bit of attention knows that ereaders are actually increasing the number of books bought, and causing people to read more. There aren't droves of readers ditching their Kindles because they bought a bad indie ebook. Rather, there are hundreds of new ereaders and many thousands of new ebooks sold every day.

So readers aren't the ones perpetuating this stupid myth that the crap will destroy the world. It's the writers--specifically the legacy writers--who keep trotting this one out.

The reason for it is disappointingly obvious. Legacy writers no longer feel special, because now anyone with a book can sell it. Even worse, they can sell it for cheap, and get higher royalty rates, meaning these pretenders to the throne can actually make more than those who "earned" their spots in the pecking order by kissing legacy butt and waving around their rejections as badges of honor.

These authors fear loss of income, and are envious of the ease in which indies can self-publish and the money they can earn. But saying that out loud would make them look petty.

So instead, they cloak their fear and envy in a poorly constructed argument that says their real intent is protecting readers from crap.

Newsflash: there has always been crap, and always will be crap. Get over it.

Whenever someone feels the need to make decisions for me because I'm apparently incapable of doing it myself, it irks me. I can decide by myself who to sleep with, what to smoke, what God to worship (or not worship), and what to read. I don't need anyone to protect me from indie ebooks, and neither does anyone else.

If you're really worried about readers being subjected to crap, here's what you can do:

DON'T WRITE CRAP.

But enough with the whining about it. It makes you look silly.