Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Is Indie publishing the new slush-pile?

Before the instant-success outlets like Smashwords and Amazon popped up, giving writers the opportunity to share their scribblings with the world, agents and acquisition editors could hardly open the door to their offices and the computer almost exploded when they checked their e-mails. They had been swamped with submissions and as many aspiring authors know, rejected about 99% of them. Some definitely not deserved, but a lot of them probably were. I'm wondering if submissions have become less due to the fact, that one can now cut out the middleman and cash 100% of the royalties instead. Let alone the giddy feeling of watching sales (if there are any) increase and reviews coming in.
But with the reviews comes the truth; instead of a form rejection you get a massive clip around the ears from the buying public. And rightly so, if an author can't string together a decent plot, develop rounded characters or think that hers should be written her's, they don't deserve anything better than a rejection. But this one hurts, because you can't tell yourself that the agent has missed the book of the decade; or the editor probably just had a bad day, no, we're talking about a real reader, someone who went to download the book, wanting only one thing: to be entertained. If the author fails to deliver, it's bad news.
Maybe I'm a bit cynic here, but I also delete a massive amount of e-books quite early in. Reason: often adventurous punctuation in dialogue, unlikable or one-dimensional characters and the most annoying: underdeveloped or totally unrealistic storyline. I'd say, I stick with every tenth book I started, reading it from cover to cover, the rest goes. None of the Indie books I read had me glued to the Kindle, shrieking with excitement. Only three had a decent storyline, tough one was a biography. Most of them had been free downloads. I've seen comments already, saying that free means shite, but what they forget is, that they're only free for a certain period, normally they cost money. Unless it's a permanently free book, which still is a riddle to me.
I'm a reader, too and wading through the slush-pile of self-published books is a tough job. The quality of the writing varies greatly and often, the premise looks fantastic, so are the first 50%, then the plot sags like an old-man's scrotum. Those authors of books that sell well, will have a chance to receive a phone call from the big players in the industry. Agents and publishers are already watching like hawks, waiting for the next successful novel to float on top. And I can't help thinking it's all down to the poor people who now have to face the slush-pile: the readers

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