Friday, August 5, 2011

Who Ruins Who?

Reading a post yesterday at The Passive Voice on whether indie publishing is bringing about the demise of the publishing industry by devaluing the quality of published word in favor of quick turn-around  which then undermines the quality of writing as a whole. This was, and is, a popular refrain from established publishers, who have some understandable bias toward the indie world , the people trying to make established publishers obsolete.
So which camp is correct? I would like to think that there is no merit in the corporate bigwigs. They make easy targets, especially in the current environment where no on e really cares what is said about people who make a certain amount of money. The popular cry is that ‘they don’t care about anything but money”.   Maybe that is true, maybe the big publishers don’t care about anything except the money they make, but then again, I’ve never turned down a paycheck.
Have any of you turned down a paycheck?
Publishers are businesses, and if they don’t have an eye on the bottom line, they would be out of business. Now, does this excuse taking advantage of writers? Of course not, but the argument that the publishing world is full of unfeeling money-grubbers is false. There are good people in traditional publishing, as well as bad, just as there are good and bad people who make their livings as writers. It is hypocritical of a writer to assail traditional publishers for trying to make money, because most of us are trying to maximize our earning potential, and instead of most of the profits that traditional publishers take, we writers want all of the money.
Our work, our profits.
I imagine that traditional publishers think much the same as writers. Our work, our profits. Who is right? A little of both.
I know, a cop out, to choose the middle ground. You suck! I can hear someone say, or make a choice, you gutless toady (which would be a harsh thing to say, but some people are cruel).
The writer who becomes independent takes on a great responsibility, for their career, and ultimately for the careers of those who come afterward. If the quality of the writing being put out by indies is consistently poor (*and admit it, there are many, many, many duds out there that should never have found their way to print) then casual readers will be turned away and even die hard fans will go to only a few, trusted sources.
This brings up a future post, “THE RISE OF ANOTHER PUBLISHING MONOPOPLY”.
So does the indie movement in the publishing world spell the doom of publishing as an industry? It has the potential unless writers prevent that from happening. Crap in, crap out. Remember that, folks.
*(JA Konrath refutes this statement, and his argument is reasoned, though I believe too simple to be entirely trustworthy. Sorry Mr. Konrath)

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