Readers are not idiots.

rant_Warning: This is a rant.

So part of my endeavor in this whole writing/publishing things has been to learn as much as I can about the publishing industry. Because writing a book is so much more than just putting your butt in a chair for several hours a day. A book is a product and you have to market and distribute that product; writing is a business. (I’ll let you in on a dirty little secret: Art has always been a business, well for successful artist anyway.) Therefore I read a lot of blogs about the move of the legacy analog publishing industry into the new realm of digital media. I have a background in media and it is a familiar story told by film, TV and the music worlds. Yeah, Guttenberg is getting an upgrade and about time.

Anyway, a lot of photons have been emitted about what this means and I really don’t think I am qualified to comment on a lot of it, yet. But one reoccurring comment I keep seeing really pisses me off, the idea that readers are helpless to discern quality. The fear is that readers are incapable to tell the difference between that low quality drivel produced by the self-publishing hordes and the loftily literature of the traditional published author. Insulting much?

I’ve been a reader since the age of five and from the start I could discern what I liked. And that’s what readers do. They choose stories that they like. Stories that moved them. Stories that make them happy or sad or think. I really don’t think they pick books based on who published them or how. I know I don’t. But I have stopped buying physical books. The wonderful thing is you can now download a sample of an ebook for free and read the first 20%. If you come to the end of the sample and you are hooked, you buy it. If not, no loss. So modern digital publishing is giving power to authors to publish what they create and make more money from their product. And it is giving the end consumer more choice and the ability to sample the product. I don’t see how this is bad. Insulting your customer? Now that is stupid.

What do you think? Do you think writers are incapable of finding interesting things to read without the filtering of the traditional publishing complex?

 

Author: Stephen del Mar

Stephen del Mar lives in the Tampa Bay area and writes in the Southern Literary tradition. His stories are character driven with rich settings. They often have a touch of the paranormal, supernatural, or magical realism. Although he writes about serious subjects, they are sweetened with humor and wit. He says, "It's a southern thing."