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Old 08-28-2011, 12:20 AM   #1
EWGB
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What everything is about or... literature as it is not.

I created my profile in this (and several other) forums motivated not so much by my desire to advertise myself or satisfy my ego as by the hope that I will find here a rich marketplace for exchange of ideas among writers and readers. I also used several days to study the logic of the forum so that, in case I decided to begin a discussion, it would not merely be opened in the right place but would provoke well-meaning responses. To my discomfort, I have discovered that the forum is dominated by topics associated with issues of technical support on operating systems, specific devices, and the pointless arguments of Kindle vs Nook or of both of them versus iPad. The only threads outside the ones discussing books and literature that I find worthwhile are the ones that relate to formatting the books in mobi or ePub files and to the design of book covers. Nevertheless, the proportion of topics, with 80 percent gravitating to discussion of technology and a mere 20 percent related to discussion of books, genres, authors, language, style etc. makes me feel not a little confused. Am I in the right place?

For decades, the publishing industry has been feeding the stereotype that the good authors are only the ones whose work has been published by a publisher. And not only that... This same mantra has been repeated endlessly by the media, mercilessly destroying not just truly talented authors but also entire genres. And in their place, they have established and promoted what brings the greatest profits. I will hardly be discovering the wheel if I say that everything is driven by money. Well! Times have changed and the development of IT technologies is pulling the goose down pillows from under the fat cats. Now, self-publishing authors come before the reading public on equal terms with the publishing giants that even until 2 or 3 years ago had a complete monopoly over the book market and, by implication, over the profits.

I personally make a distinction between two types of literature. One type causes readers to think and presents them with dilemmas. The other serves as entertainment. Both need to exist - there is no argument about that. But after the decades-long hegemony of the publishers, could you guess which type dominates the market and what is the proportion between the two... Even the genre that has been imposed as the one that drives sales best - the novel - is mercilessly dominated by novels meant for entertainment. Poetry is a genre that is pitilessly extirpated, followed by short stories. The reason?... They supposedly do not sell, because readers do not like them. And of course, as a result of this culture and way of approaching the reading public, it is no wonder that the comments on any given book in the forums are focused mostly on the kinds of sales that have been realized, instead of being focused on the literary qualities of the book. This leads to the absurd view that the good author is only the one who manages to make a lot of sales. I profoundly disagree. This is not true and could not be, because such logic would lead us to believe that Sarah Palin is a major star among authors. The good author deserves to have his or her work published in large circulation and make lots of sales. But that is different from the postulate that if someone makes lots of sales, they are a good author. As a writer, I have a big problem with the paradigm that aside from writing good literature, I also have to be a good manager and a good merchant. That the latter are inseparable from the activity of writing. I will go walk my dog now and will be back soon...
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Old 08-28-2011, 12:24 AM   #2
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Is there a question here?
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Old 08-28-2011, 12:43 AM   #3
EWGB
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Is there a question here?
I guess there are many, but if you don't see them - take the thread as an answer.
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Old 08-28-2011, 12:57 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by EWGB View Post
I guess there are many, but if you don't see them - take the thread as an answer.
All I see is some whining about not being published or being considered a "good author" because of it.
Are you just ranting or did you actually want to have a discussion about something?
Personally I do believe that being published=good. Just like any artist, no one is going to want invest their time and money in you if you don't even invest your own.
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Old 08-28-2011, 01:02 AM   #5
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Issues of technical support and specific devices are MR's primary purpose. That's what we're here for: to let people discuss their devices, and how to get the most out of them.
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Old 08-28-2011, 01:20 AM   #6
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Old 08-28-2011, 01:22 AM   #7
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I've read many indie authors that are just as good, if not better, than many of the authors with a publishing house behind their name.
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Old 08-28-2011, 06:49 AM   #8
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Well Ill try to answer the questions I found as best I can.
Quote:
:"Am I in the right place?"
Not really. This is a pretty tech centric forum. Occasionally the Writers Corner has some topics that might interest you. It's not really a forum about the industry though.

The rest of your manifesto probably won't get a lot of traction here. There are some issues in there I'd enjoy discussing with you but in little chunks.

This reads more like a blog post than a forum post. It's too long and covers too much ground for this format.

I'll just make one comment.

Quote:
As a writer, I have a big problem with the paradigm that aside from writing good literature, I also have to be a good manager and a good merchant. That the latter are inseparable from the activity of writing.
And my Land Surveyor friend has to do advertising, payroll, training, hiring, attend meetings and conferences, continuing education, write bids and proposals, and make his own coffee. Actual surveying is maybe 10% of his week. It's called running a small business, which is what you, as an independant author are in fact doing. You can ignore the busines end of writing and be a pure artist, but if you want to make a living at it you have to do the work or hire someone who will. It's not a subversive paradigm the publishing houses are using to hold you back, it's life and it's completely up to you how you approach it.

Also, you forgot editor, cover artist, publicist, mail room clerk, runner, secretary, and brown nosing ineffectual middle management suck up. You gotta cover all those bases too.
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Old 08-28-2011, 08:46 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EWGB View Post
Nevertheless, the proportion of topics, with 80 percent gravitating to discussion of technology and a mere 20 percent related to discussion of books, genres, authors, language, style etc. makes me feel not a little confused. Am I in the right place?
Well, the little smiling robotic ereader mascot over the website's logo should go a long way to preventing such confusion, as should the list of topics. It is indeed a website dedicated to enthusiasts of ebooks and their accompanying electronic devices.

Many of the topics are related to the industry, manufacturing and so forth. However, commentary on books and writing in general are not uncommon in the General forum, nor would I assume they're uncommon in the "Writer's Corner."


I don't know if you're in the right place for you, but you are in a right place, so long as you're civil and respectful of the wide array of topics. Who knows, you may even come to find some of those other topics interesting.

Either way, welcome.
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Old 08-28-2011, 10:53 AM   #10
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You've described the scaffolding of MobileRead very well. However, a lot of great discussion occurs within that framework, so you might find it interesting if you give it time.

Just curious about your skepticism re the value of the technical aspects of MibileRead though - 50968 karma points with only 8 posts seems to imply some mastery and investment, though to be honest, (though to be honest, I don't quite understand how karma works)
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Old 08-28-2011, 10:54 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EWGB View Post
I created my profile in this (and several other) forums motivated not so much by my desire to advertise myself or satisfy my ego as by the hope that I will find here a rich marketplace for exchange of ideas among writers and readers.
You're not alone there; a number of other writers, including myself, have done the same. But because of the nature of the forum, most of the discussion has been centered around methods to market our ebooks, and promote ebooks in general.

I've tried a few times in the past to introduce concepts for discussion or debate (most notably related to science or science fiction), but they didn't get too far, or, they got bogged down by a lot of social or political contentiousness and devolved into near or complete flame-wars. But one or two of them worked out... mostly.

(Mind you, plenty of ebook-related discussions have done the same thing around here. This group's just that diverse.)

If your interest is discussing literary concepts, I encourage you to start some discussions in the Writer's Corner or the Lounge. (If you use the Lounge, be sure to stick a "Seriousness" tag on the thread, so it doesn't get mobbed by too much joking around.) If you decide this isn't the best site for your discussions, however, a site like Goodreads, for example, would be better as a general-interest site... or, a site that specializes in your genre of choice.
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Old 08-28-2011, 11:20 AM   #12
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Am I the only writer that gets the heeby-jeebies when I see the term "literature"?

I don't write what the marketplace, critics, and scholars would consider literature. I write genre fiction and I write it because it's what I like to write and what I like to read. "Literature"--and in this I mean what's often taught in tenth-grade English and the like--holds no magic nor joy for me to read, let alone write.

I write to entertain. I write because I love it and because I want someone else to fall as in love with the characters, the places, and the universes I've created as I am.

LitFic just doesn't do that for me.
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Old 08-28-2011, 11:35 AM   #13
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I write to entertain. I write because I love it and because I want someone else to fall as in love with the characters, the places, and the universes I've created as I am.
I have an even more shameful confession. When I was a textbook author (about 15 years ago now) I wrote for (hangs his head in shame) MONEY. Yes, it's true. A publisher PAID me to write physics textbooks. It was a job. I didn't do it for love. I did it for the money. Shocking, huh?
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Old 08-28-2011, 11:44 AM   #14
Jack Tingle
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Your paragraphs are too long, your sentence structure is too complex, and using a non-standard font confuses the reader's eye.

You missed the point with Palin. I may think she's a putz, but she's a putz with something to say. Based on your post, you're weak in this area.

As for the 80/20 thing, Pareto's rule.

Glad to help.

Regards,
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Old 08-28-2011, 11:48 AM   #15
OneandonlyDoc
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Quote:
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I have an even more shameful confession. When I was a textbook author (about 15 years ago now) I wrote for (hangs his head in shame) MONEY. Yes, it's true. A publisher PAID me to write physics textbooks. It was a job. I didn't do it for love. I did it for the money. Shocking, huh?
It's okay, I forgive you. The Physics punished you more than I ever could.
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