Books and Literary Snobs

Since the emergence of the internet, online publishing and the plethora of titles now available to us in the world of books, a second disturbing breed has emerged – the literary snob.
While thanks to small press and self publishing, it is true that the vast majority of published authors these days far outweigh the fortunate few, chosen by establishment publishers, rarely if ever will any of the former become successful.
The world of establishment writing and publishing is inhabited by old school literary snobs who will never deign to purchase a copy of your book, let alone offer you a contract. Why, because unless they have ‘discovered’ you through a literary agent or similar, treating you like a cash cow worthy of exploitation, you simply don’t exist in their eyes.
However, there are of course successful exceptions to this scenario. Beyond establishment publishing lays the world of self publishing; J.A Konrath is an excellent example. While clearly Joe has a head for business, the vast majority do not, hence his undoubted success.
Most, if not all, are reliant on which ever platform (in my case small press) we submit our work to, leaving the business side of things to them. 
For every ten thousand struggling writers, maybe one will eventually ‘make it’ becoming a best seller worthy of the accolades enjoyed by the likes of J.K Rowling. But in reality, most of us will be read by a small handful of readers, curious or brave enough to read work from new writers.
Yesterday I read a list of best selling books that were rejected for years, in some cases – decades, before the snobs within the world of establishment publishing took notice of them. The list of titles, too numerous to mention here, astounded me. Perhaps it shouldn’t. After all, they were first timers once just like you and I.
With the introduction of technology allowing a book to be presented in eBook form, your sales figures will steadily increase. But do not expect to become a best seller overnight. Remember you are unknown to the vast majority of the reading world. A bit of self promotion via social interaction sites like Twitter and Facebook will help. But do not overdo it. Your potential readership will be put off.
Once you have the product of all your hard work available to read, get yourself an ‘author’s page’ on sites like Goodreads. Create a blog where you can advertise your work to your heart’s content, plus posts about fellow writers so as not to bore your readers, and get it registered on sites like The Speculative Fiction Database and The Blog Farm. In short do what you need to get your work noticed.
One thing is sure. Until the literary snobs finally and grudgingly accept that what you have to say actually matters in the world of books, you are on your own. 
Above all don’t give up on writing. Keep on keeping on. In the case of writing, practice makes perfect. Get yourself into a writing group where your peers will offer constructive criticism. Explore all genres by writing short stories. Experiment!
Want a challenge? Then get writing. If you love reading, you’ll love writing.
Good luck.

7 thoughts on “Books and Literary Snobs

  1. I think the 'agency model' is having trouble coming to grips with the fact that their jobs as pimps (sorry, literary agents) is dying. Once powerful in deciding who got published and who remained in the slush pile, they are now running around like headless chickens looking for the 'next big thing'. Problem is, few of them know a 'big thing' when it hits their desk. Amanda Hocking and Steig Larsson for example.With a little common sense, marketing self published titles in your niche is now not only possible, but highly rewarding. So I agree Jack. Go for it and ignore the pimps. (snobs as you more politely say.)


  2. It is perfectly possible for indies to meet and exceed the standards of traditional publishing – but it is still difficult to persuade some people to read self-published work because of a perception of lack of quality. It’s an on-going struggle – but I am absolutely committed to that quality in all aspects of my work. Traditional publishing has no room in its catalogues for all the good, well-written stories – and tends to produce more of the same.

    We will win, but it may take a while. People forget the many self-published authors from days of yore who wrote books which are considered classics. People forget traditional publishing wasn’t an option – and women had to write under male pseudonyms.

    Meanwhile, I keep writing – and don’t let those standards slip for an instant, because I write for the ages. Anything else would be a waste of my time.

    Liked by 1 person

      • We didn’t have Bezos and Amazon until 2005.

        Big publishing has been hit extremely hard by the pandemic, and people have stopped going to malls and bookstores anyway.

        Big publishing has also fought ebooks and digital sales with every breath.

        It’s coming, and it will collapse all of a piece.

        The bigger problem is indie quality. I’m slow, so I don’t really get a vote, but a lot of the stuff I’ve read has obviously been written quickly, and editing has been minimal – and it doesn’t make me buy the next book from that author, because I have standards for what I’m going to spend my time on.

        In fact, writing TO those standards was why it took me so long to produce my first published volume. I know I won’t write many books because of my limitations, so it’s even MORE important to me that they be really, really good.

        If I’m the one reading them, they have to be up to the standards of the best I’ve read – and that takes a lot of work! Those 10,000 hours they talk about are just a start.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I like this post, Jack, it is encouraging and positive at the end. I wouldn’t call big publishers literary snobs, I would call them business people who are only willing to put money behind something they believe is “sure fire”. That is not unusual in the business world. I won’t write to a formula, where would the fun be in that, so I don’t expect to ever be published by a big name. I read a lot of classic books and a lot of very unusual and strange books and then I read a lot of self published books by people who I’ve come to know and admire through blogging. I’ve never been disappointed by any of my blogging friends books, but I have read some horrible self published books found on Goodreads.

    Liked by 2 people

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