Friday, March 9, 2012

The wasted young - on traditional and Indie publishing


"The youth now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers."
Perhaps you´ve seen the above statement before. Supposedly it was said by Socrates in his defense speech when he was acused of corrupting society. If this is true or it´s a hoax made by either Platon or Xenophon is unknown, but the fact remains that it´s been written by the students of Socrates and thereby we can safely say that someone thought these thoughts in ancient Greece.

Recently I read a quote by a simple farmer that is even more to the point:

“Things today are not what they used to be - and they never have!”

“What does this have to do with Indie vs. Traditional publishing?” you may ask.
Well, it really is quite simple:

Every generation feels threatened by the culture and views of the next and this is apparently also the case for generations of publishers and authors.

Try watching the underneath clip from youtube. It´s in Norwegian, but someone has been kind enough to provide a translation in English. When you´ve watched it, please read on, because I have some important points to make:

Medieavel Help Desk

A friend and fellow author wrote on his blog:
“One of my university lecturers told a friend to tell me that if I self-publish it might ruin my chances of being traditionally published or entering competitions.” - you can read the entire post here.

Why would any publisher or host of a writing competition rule out selfpublishers? Do they not want good quality? Or could it be that they would rather have uniformity in views on how to properly publish?

Indie Authoring threaten to shift the power balance 
I think it has to do with defending your livelihood. If Indie Authoring becomes main stream, how would publishers make money and survive the publishing business?

Thus, it would seem to be better to try giving selfpublishers a bad name and start rumours about poor quality and bad editing. And yes, there a examples of both in the Indie World, but quite frankly: so is the case with traditional publishing.

Are there more poor quality in Indie books than in others?

Well, to be honest, I think there is, but for one thing, it´s going in the right direction as the readers simply won´t read bad quality and thereby bad writers and writers publishing bad edited books won´t sell their books. In time, bad quality will diminish to a level competing well with traditional published books. And we are almost there…

And this brings me to the point I want to  make:
Really, the publishing war is not a question of quality, but a question of “who makes money and for what services?”

But it doesn´t sound good if traditional publishing companies use this argument, does it?

“We think, Indie Publishing should stop, because it shifts the balance of power and we are beginning to make less money than before!”

Hmmm…. Not a solid case, is it?

It sounds much more reasonable to come up with all sorts of excuses and statements about quality and reading experience - just like you saw the munk in the video clip complaining about this new world of books, where things aren´t as they used to be.

Examples are vast 
I could continue for hundreds of pages with examples that Indie Authoring is a good idea that will not go away, but it would bore you, I think.

Instead, I´ll tell you something quite interesting:

About a decade ago, a single mum received no less than 25 rejections on her manuscript for a children´s book, before a small publisher decided to take her in as a new author.

That author was J.K.Rowlings and the book was “Harry Potter and the sorcerers stone.”

Imagine, if she decided to believe the publishers word that the book wasn´t any good?