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Old 06-11-2013, 11:43 AM   #16
AnemicOak
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
He's biased, plainly, but it's a fair point that traditional publishers do play a valuable role as "gatekeepers", in terms of filtering out the unreadable crap.
That may be true to a point, but they let plenty of crap through the gates as long as they think they can sell it. I'm not a huge reader of self published stuff and am very choosy when I do (it usually comes recommended from trusted sources), but some of what I've read has been quite good.
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Old 06-11-2013, 11:58 AM   #17
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Undoubtedly there's some excellent self-published books out there (Hugh Howey's "Wool" omnibus springs to mind as an example). The problem I have with indie books in general is simply finding the gems that are out there - I just don't have the time to filter out all the rubbish. As an SF/Fantasy fan I buy the Baen monthly bundle each month knowing that I'm pretty likely to enjoy the books in the bundle, because I know that what Baen publish I'm going (on the whole) to like.
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Old 06-11-2013, 12:35 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Josieb1 View Post
I review books for a romance website, I know the books written by authors I am involved with are not 'rubbish' and the formatting isn't an issue either.

I detest broad statements that seem to cover the whole story!
The problem is that we all tend to make broad statements based on our tastes. That publisher might be biased, but so are we all.

If I were lenient about fiction to the point that correct formatting, spelling and grammar were enough, I wouldn't dismiss the majority of what's self-published either. The problem for me is that many self-publishers now become writers because there's no dragon at the entrance any more -- no fear of professional rejection -- and writing looks like an easy cottage business to many people: a way to impose one's personality on others, a job inspired by posting on public forums.

Then again, we'll always cultivate gifted lunatics this way, essential mooncalves who'd never find posterity without being given the freedom to froth. Many of our greatest poets and short story writers started out by self-publishing their first collections.

Last edited by Prestidigitweeze; 06-11-2013 at 12:38 PM.
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Old 06-11-2013, 12:50 PM   #19
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Thankfully Amazon's bookstore has a TRY option. That is a good filter to use, though time consuming. Other bookstores probably have a similar function. I buy about 1/3 of the books I TRY. I personally wouldn't trust anyone except myself to filter what I read.
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Old 06-11-2013, 12:59 PM   #20
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Based on Profile Books catalog, I would infer he probably thinks of most genre fiction as trash that doesn't contribute anything, forget whether it is indy or trad.

They're mostly a publisher of highbrow history, business, and other non-fiction titles. Is it surprising he sneers at "genre" and "indy" authors?

(Though they did publish Eats, Shoots, and Leaves at one point. A fine book. Go figure.)
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Old 06-11-2013, 12:59 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
The whole problem with this trad versus indie publishing "war" is that traditional publishers always want to paint themselves as the gatekeepers of quality--of art. When nothing could be further from the truth. They have zero concern with what might "enhance the world." Their gatekeeping role is predicated around what they think they can sell. There's nothing wrong with that -- as long as you don't pretend it's about anything else.
Sturgeon's Law Rules.
And it was composed at the height of the gatekeepers' power. (And likely in response to it.)

The whole thing is eminently shrug-worthy.

"90% of everything is crap."
If you start from there you'll never be disappointed and ocassionaly be surprised and delighted.
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Old 06-11-2013, 01:06 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
As an SF/Fantasy fan I buy the Baen monthly bundle each month knowing that I'm pretty likely to enjoy the books in the bundle, because I know that what Baen publish I'm going (on the whole) to like.
Ditto.
BAEN has a reputation for preferentially publishing a certain breed of SF, favoring action-adventure SF ranging from technothrillers to military SF and space opera, with clear libertarian leanings. What some might call the Heinlein School of SF.
(No surprise they are in the process of republishing the Heinlein catalog in ebook form.)

However, there are plenty of SF&F readers who refuse to even look at BAEN precisely because of that reputation.

Tastes vary.
All that matters is figuring out what you like and where to get it.

Last edited by fjtorres; 06-11-2013 at 06:16 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 06-11-2013, 01:08 PM   #23
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My suspicion is that the crap level for self-published is much higher that 90% simply because there are virtually no barriers. If you think your unedited nano novel is worth putting out there you can with very little effort and people do.

But for the sake of argument let's say that the crap rates are the same for trad- and self-pubbed books. 90% of the gazillion indies is a lot more in absolute terms. You can wade through a lot more crap indies before finding pearls simply because there are a lot more there.

As for the cream rising by word of mouth etc. Well yes but a) I find that there are almost as many crap book-review bloggers as crap books and b) the ones that do seem to generate word of mouth that reaches my ears are almost all traditionally published name authors - something to do with marketing perhaps?
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Old 06-11-2013, 01:27 PM   #24
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I once met a very famous literary critic and he told me that he never reads anything that is not published by a reputed publishing house. And I thought that might be the reason why is so smart. He does not waste his time with garbage, he only takes the best.

There's a difference between The New York Times and USA Today. What you read builds your education and your manners. Why not take the best? Or at least something better.
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Old 06-11-2013, 01:40 PM   #25
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Quote:
As for the cream rising by word of mouth etc. Well yes but a) I find that there are almost as many crap book-review bloggers as crap books and
Well sure, but it doesn't take a whole heck of a lot to track down a handful that you can trust to be consistent (consistently bad or consistently good doesn't really matter). Haven't you learned which of your friends' reading recommendations coincide with your own?

Quote:
b) the ones that do seem to generate word of mouth that reaches my ears are almost all traditionally published name authors - something to do with marketing perhaps?
I don't know what to say. Just browsing the reading recommendation forum here has turned up quite a few independently published authors I might not have heard of otherwise.

Look, I'm not saying everybody should be reading self-published authors--heck, I read very few of them myself--I just don't think having a booming self-pub ebook industry is anything to be afraid of. It's not going to ruin literature, it's not going to steal food from your favorite authors' tables (unless they stop writing stuff that people want to read), and it's not going to club baby-seals senseless. In fact... it doesn't really have to affect you at all. Your big-ticket favorites are still going to be there, and somebody else will always be willing to wade the slush-pile for you, and the "cream" of the indies will find their way onto mainstream's radar (at which point they might not be indie anymore). You're not going to run out of stuff that you want to read in your lifetime.

And as far as worrying about typos, mispelling and terrible writing: samples. It shouldn't really take anyone more than a paragraph or two to determine that a writer falls waaaaay below their personal requirements for competence with regard to putting sentences together.

Read what you like. Just wait until your supply actually starts to show signs of drying up before you start complaining that rubbish indies ate your baby.
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Old 06-11-2013, 01:43 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
Well sure, but it doesn't take a whole heck of a lot to track down a handful that you can trust to be consistent (consistently bad or consistently good doesn't really matter). Haven't you learned which of your friends' reading recommendations coincide with your own?


I don't know what to say. Just browsing the reading recommendation forum here has turned up quite a few independently published authors I might not have heard of otherwise.

Look, I'm not saying everybody should be reading self-published authors--heck, I read very few of them myself--I just don't think having a booming self-pub ebook industry is anything to be afraid of. It's not going to ruin literature, it's not going to steal food from your favorite authors' tables (unless they stop writing stuff that people want to read), and it's not going to club baby-seals senseless. In fact... it doesn't really have to affect you at all. Your big-ticket favorites are still going to be there, and somebody else will always be willing to wade the slush-pile for you, and the "cream" of the indies will find their way onto mainstream's radar (at which point they might not be indie anymore). You're not going to run out of stuff that you want to read in your lifetime.

And as far as worrying about typos, mispelling and terrible writing: samples. It shouldn't really take anyone more than a paragraph or two to determine that a writer falls waaaaay below their personal requirements for competence with regard to putting sentences together.

Read what you like. Just wait until your supply actually starts to show signs of drying up before you start complaining that rubbish indies ate your baby.
+1!!!
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Old 06-11-2013, 01:45 PM   #27
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There is plenty of crap published by the big 6, Dan Brown's last few works come to mind. A fair amount of Tom Clancy's recent stuff and stuff published using his name that he didin't actually write. Heck, I would argue that Martin's recent stuff needs to be edited and tightened up big time.

The publishers are not perfect and put out plenty of crap or questionable stuff. At least there is an expectation that the work has been edited, proof read, and reviewed. It has been a long time since I looked at Indie work, mainly because most of what I tried to look at had not been edited, proof read, or reviewed. Sorting through samples to find a book that is readable is a burden.

I maintain that an Indie author who is willing to put in the book description that the book had been edited or proof read that more people would be willing to look at the book.
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Old 06-11-2013, 01:48 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
He's biased, plainly, but it's a fair point that traditional publishers do play a valuable role as "gatekeepers", in terms of filtering out the unreadable crap. That's why I personally generally stick with books from publishers - I don't have the time to find the gems that I'm sure do exist in the large garbage pile of indie books.
I'd go with that argument, if I hadn't seen a ton of "edited" books in the last few years with glaring problems that a good proofread and buddy reading would've caught.

I'd also make a case that the article quoted by the OP was written by someone with a Litfic bias. His whole bit about "improving" stuff is what people would say back when genre fiction wasn't allowed on the bestseller list. If you're writing to change the world, then you're ignoring the First Commandment of Storytelling.
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Old 06-11-2013, 02:04 PM   #29
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I learned many years ago that a critic’s taste rarely coincides with mine; that applies to all things usually classified as “art” but especially to literature. That may mean that my taste is “rubbish”, but I knows what I likes and I likes what I knows. Does that make me my own best critic?
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Old 06-11-2013, 02:14 PM   #30
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I'd go with that argument, if I hadn't seen a ton of "edited" books in the last few years with glaring problems that a good proofread and buddy reading would've caught.
I'd still maintain it's a valid argument. Are all professionally-published books perfect? No, certainly not. But they're typically a hell of a lot better than the typical indie book.
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