Friday, March 09, 2012

#354. Sigild, Publishers


I just posted a new story at Sigild, my latest effort to try and do a Star Wars (the way I write Star Trek) as I think is actually worthwhile, writing from the perspective of what we know, rather than dumping irrelevant trivial adventures that don't mean anything to the powerful story we already know (because anything else, what does it matter to Star Wars that couldn't have been done in someone else's creation?).

And I've been thinking at how ridiculous an age we live in.  Reading is at such a curious phase right now.  Bookstores are struggling to remain relevant, partly because there are people who are absolutely convinced that everything digital is not only the future, but our present.  This means not only that there are people reading existing literature digitally, but that a lot of aspiring writers are writing to that market, convinced that this is their best way at exposure and success.

Except it seems to me that many of those writers are only reading other writers like them who are getting their things published (the new Internet boom, I suppose) in this manner, so that they're only reading what should at best be considered highly questionable literary material, and I don't say this to demean these writers, but at my basic experience that 99% of writers are not good writers, who write because they like writing and not because they should actually be writing.

Traditional publishers know this.  They know this so well that they've actually taken to sabotaging themselves, because they have no idea how to handle the volume of submissions they receive in a reasonable manner.  There are a great many more books published each year than there are films released.  (And that's just one reason why the average film is better than the average book, because film is the dominant medium of the storyteller in the 21st century.)  This would be fine if publishers knew how to market their products, but they don't, and critics who believe their opinions actually matter apparently don't realize that the majority of existing readers prefer the easiest possibles reads, mostly because they're the easiest possible selections.  They don't have to dig into the mass tangle of reviews that only sometimes crescendo on a single book, and even then mass audiences only really come together when someone other than a critic recommends one.

So this means that all those writers writing for the digital forum who read each other, believing that they're supporting the medium and boasting about their success are only hurting themselves and the medium they're trying to support.  The more they read mediocre work the more they write mediocre work, because they cannot differentiate between their unreasonable expectations and the best possible uses of literature.  Again, I do not advocate censuring popular literature so much as support the idea that the best of all possible worlds celebrate real merit over ambition and easy sales.

But what do I know?

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