In a recent blog post of mine “Books and Literary Snobs”, I began it by saying the following:
“Since the emergence of the internet, online publishing and the plethora of books now available to us, 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.”
Since writing that post I have become even more aware of another trait among today’s literary snobs – pomposity. Sadly there are a number of people who will only ever read an author their fathers introduced them to.
The emerging author of today will be deafened by the loud ‘tut tutting’ being uttered by these narrow minded individuals who are quick to judge, based only on one reading experience of a new author’s work. If they had their way, the only books made available to the general public to read would have been written in the nineteenth century, or maybe up until the middle of the twentieth. Certainly none published by anyone other than the ‘big six’ establishment publishing houses would be allowed into the public domain in their view.
A little further on in my previous post I added the following:
“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.”
One thing all of these pompous literary snobs seem incapable of comprehending is the fact that all writers, be they first timers, or old established hands, if they are at all serious about writing, continue to hone their ‘voice’ until the day they die. Writers like Dickens were panned beyond belief when they were first published; something the pompous literary snob of today conveniently seems to forget.
I feel exceedingly sorry for these lonely pathetic individuals whose personal library is severely limited to a few volumes written by authors such as Tolstoy, Pushkin, Dickens, H. Rider Haggard, H.G Wells, Jules Verne, Agatha Christy, Graeme Green, or maybe even Arthur Conan Doyle. Unfortunately, they are the kind of people who firmly believes that reading anything new, is somehow beneath them.In a way, they remind me of my father’s generation who clung to the dream that England still ruled the waves, and had an Empire. Like them, today’s literary snobs are dinosaurs!
While they continue to prevail, be they private individuals or so called literary critics, all unfortunately still listened to by the ‘big six’ publishing houses, what chance do today’s emerging writers stand? Most establishment literary prizes like the ‘Booker’ here in England are never won by a newcomer beyond the world of the establishment publishing scene.
While those of us who live in the real world are prepared to read something new, be it from someone who has self-published like myself, the ‘big six publishing houses’ are all sadly missing out on so much promising talent by ignoring today’s plethora of new writers, or worse, dismissing them out of hand simply on the word of pompous literary snobs who currently hold sway, or narrow minded literary agents in the pay of the ‘big six’.