Literary numbskulls and their hobbyhorses

crazy-cartoon

Continuing on from my post published on the eighteenth of the month “How much advice is too much,” I now move on to another group of bitter individuals.

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With the introduction of social media sites like Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter, plus the blogosphere, at one time or another we have all read vitriolic diatribes by people with a particular axe to grind regarding publishers.

The authors of these endless rants have created their very own hobbyhorse, which they seem unable, or indeed unwilling to dismount. Reading something from them once or twice may be interesting, even thought provoking. But when they endlessly bleat on ad infinitum using the same tired arguments simply because of their particular hatred towards a specific publishing institution or someone’s particular point of view, it becomes tiresome in the extreme.

One person of my acquaintance who constantly attacks a specific book publisher (mine as it happens), simply because they hate the way the said publisher has now become dominant in the marketplace by allowing self-published writers like myself to offer our work to the reading world at large, really needs to step back from the brink for the moment and take a long hard look at what it is they are saying. More specifically, they need to look at their own contributions and ask themselves this one simple question – why aren’t my books selling in the multiples of thousands like his?

There is another person of German extraction I’m acquainted with who uses their blog to constantly attack everyone who dares to write in the English language. In that particular individual’s case, they have a totally illogical view about the use of the language and especially the use of its punctuation. Given that English is not the particular blogger’s first language, their views are to say the least comical. The fact that the person advertises themselves as an editor simply boggles the mind.

Then there are the people who think that they are being deliberately targeted by a specific publisher for some totally illogical reason. The fault isn’t usually on the part of the publisher. They merely offer you a platform for distribution. The fault sits squarely in your own lap.

True, there are some who will hold you back for reasons of their own, usually annual publishing targets, or because they are operating on a shoestring budget. But all you have to do is simply part company with them, and consciously enter the world of self-publishing as I did. I was extremely grateful at the time when a small press publisher took me on, but inevitably the time came when it was essential for us to go our separate ways if I was to progress.

Instead of constantly attacking a particular publisher, perhaps you should be asking yourself why it is that your work is not doing so well. For instance, is your publisher pricing your book too high, given that you are an unknown, merely hoping to recoup their printing and distribution costs? If that is the case, you know what to do – leave. Above all, get over yourselves! Stop constantly whining and complaining. Writing is one of the toughest learned skills there is.

Don’t necessarily compose what you think the marketplace wants, or enter a particular genre because it is currently popular. Instead take a calculated risk. Try to write something that will grip your potential reading public’s imagination. I’ve been constantly writing since 1995. My favourite genre is science fiction, but currently it is unfashionable and at a low ebb. And so I’ve taken to experimenting with fantasy and adventure with mixed results. With each new piece of work I learn a valuable lesson.

Among my writers friends we all tend to bellyache about different things. But the one thing I refrain from doing is to publically say anything derogatory about those who are publishing my words. I leave any form of mindless attack in that department to the numbskulls of this world.

6 thoughts on “Literary numbskulls and their hobbyhorses

  1. “There is another person of German extraction I’m acquainted with who uses their blog to constantly attack everyone who dares to write in the English language. In that particular individual’s case, they have a totally illogical view about the use of the language and especially the use of its punctuation. Given that English is not the particular blogger’s first language, their views are to say the least comical. The fact that the person advertises themselves as an editor simply boggles the mind.”

    I’ve seen quite a few of this sort of people. You said comical, I say major hypocrites. They simply like to flame, to insult, and to preach. And if you do a little back-check about them, you’ll find out that they’re unaccomplished writers with a lot of frustration against the world in general, especially indies.
    And as for those who constantly attack traditional publishing – they just have to realize the physical limitations of this business world. A producer (of any sort) cannot expand production without expecting to see sales figures rise. If it does this and sales don’t pick up, leveraged as they are, they’ll go bankrupt. Ebooks is another matter. The bookshelves are virtual. An aggregator site can put up 10.000 new ebooks, and even if they don’t sell or not at all, the cost they face for the 10 thousand no sellers is a very small number.
    They should understand that traditional publishers don’t have anything against them personally or their work. They just pick up what they can and what their market created idiosyncrasies allows them to potentially sell.

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