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Old 04-28-2010, 09:21 AM   #46
Blue Tyson
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Originally Posted by rhadin View Post

Determining dreck from literature is no different than separating great musci from poor music, great plays from lousy plays, classic movies from movies best forgotten, great actors from wanna-be has-beens, great baseball players from who?, etc. We do it every day and we do it with the aid and guidance of "experts" and by building consensus. Why are books any different?
It isn't. How many care about movie experts now, for example, before they decide what to see? How many look up stuff about a movie online, comparatively?

However, publishers of books are very secretive about their actual performance in the market.

Unlike movies or baseball players.
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Old 04-28-2010, 01:14 PM   #47
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value-added

Sure, publishers add value. Ten dollars' worth.

Boyd Morrison's The Ark for Kindle this time last year...$1.99
Boyd Morrison's The Ark for Kindle now...$11.99

That's what I call value.

Scott
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Old 04-28-2010, 05:32 PM   #48
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I hope publishers continue to exist as so far as functioning as “gatekeepers.” Separate the wheat from the chaff. Not everyone with a computer, word processing software, and an Internet connection should be a writer.
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Old 04-28-2010, 06:48 PM   #49
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I hope publishers continue to exist as so far as functioning as “gatekeepers.” Separate the wheat from the chaff. Not everyone with a computer, word processing software, and an Internet connection should be a writer.
Why not?

I might not want to read what they right, but why shouldn't they write it?

Write 'em all, let the market sort 'em out.
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Old 04-28-2010, 09:30 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by Scott Nicholson View Post
Sure, publishers add value. Ten dollars' worth.

Boyd Morrison's The Ark for Kindle this time last year...$1.99
Boyd Morrison's The Ark for Kindle now...$11.99

That's what I call value.

Scott
That is negative ten dollars worth I believe.

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Old 04-29-2010, 09:16 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by Worldwalker View Post
Why not?

I might not want to read what they right, but why shouldn't they write it?

Write 'em all, let the market sort 'em out.
Absolutely! thats what I've been saying. The quality work will rise to the top naturally.
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Old 04-29-2010, 11:13 AM   #52
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gatekeepers or toll-booth operators?

I would be more willing to accept "publishers as gatekeepers" except for one absolute truism--publishers will only publish books that are likely to make money. Commercialism and profit trump every other virtue and value of a publishing house.

Turn in a beautiful, sweeping, amazing piece of literature that will taught in college lit classes in a century, or turn in a cold dog turd that will hit the bestseller list, they will choose the cold dog turd every single time. And at any given time, half the Top Ten bestsellers are cold dog turds. If you think that's a system promoting and preserving literary values, then I understand a willingness to pay 20 times the value for the privilege of being protected from all that crappy material out there.

Yes, most of all writing is crappy, but don't forget that most agents and editors wanted to be writers but weren't good enough. There is no university degree to be an agent or editor. You go to NY when you are 22 and get a job, then hang around. That's not to say there aren't wonderful, passionate editors, but every single one of them answers to a sales staff, stockholders, and corporate board of directors. It's just not necessarily a system designed to publish the highest-quality books.

Scott

(Incidentally, this is from an author who has been both rejected and accepted by publishers--and my best books were never accepted).

Last edited by Scott Nicholson; 04-29-2010 at 11:14 AM. Reason: add PS
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Old 04-29-2010, 11:39 AM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Nicholson View Post
I would be more willing to accept "publishers as gatekeepers" except for one absolute truism--publishers will only publish books that are likely to make money. Commercialism and profit trump every other virtue and value of a publishing house.

Turn in a beautiful, sweeping, amazing piece of literature that will taught in college lit classes in a century, or turn in a cold dog turd that will hit the bestseller list, they will choose the cold dog turd every single time. And at any given time, half the Top Ten bestsellers are cold dog turds. If you think that's a system promoting and preserving literary values, then I understand a willingness to pay 20 times the value for the privilege of being protected from all that crappy material out there.

Yes, most of all writing is crappy, but don't forget that most agents and editors wanted to be writers but weren't good enough. There is no university degree to be an agent or editor. You go to NY when you are 22 and get a job, then hang around. That's not to say there aren't wonderful, passionate editors, but every single one of them answers to a sales staff, stockholders, and corporate board of directors. It's just not necessarily a system designed to publish the highest-quality books.

Scott

(Incidentally, this is from an author who has been both rejected and accepted by publishers--and my best books were never accepted).
The problem is that the cold dog turds that are selling now will be the ones that sell in the new markets also. Chilled bow-wow excrement is what people most like to purchase and that's why the publishers accept so much in the way of freezing canine faecal matter. If good literature were to sell, then they would sell good literature, but it doesn't sell, not in any significant numbers. Same for music and movies. It's no shock that Avatar makes half a billion, while the superior in all respects, Moon, pulls in a minuscule fraction of that money.

So a dichotomy remains; you are free as a writer to write whatever you like, but the audience most likely to subsidize you with monetary rewards are also those most unlikely to veer away from the tepid Fido poo-poo of modern, popular literature. Those with the purse strings are also those who prop up the zombie notions of agent, editor, publisher.

Also, it's really tough thinking of different words for turd.
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Old 04-29-2010, 12:28 PM   #54
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Anyone who has read slush understands just how important the "gate-keeping" and editorial functions of a publisher really are. Baen thrives because of this: it's not simply their approach to ebooks, but also the fact they do have a consistent editorial policy and the fact that I, and many other readers, know that if we're looking for a certain kind of book we can go to Baen knowing that the majority of their offerings in that subcategory will be enjoyable reads.
Editing is definitely a value that they add. Other than that, the only thing they really seem to do is come up with things to lock both authors and consumers into their distribution chain.

You could probably keep the editors, throw out the rest, and both artists and consumers would be happier in the long run. The problem with that is the current industry (not just publishing, but the music industry as well) is big, powerful, has lots of money, and will fight to the death to prevent themselves from being thrown out. They don't care if the results of that are to the detriment of both artists and consumers.
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Old 04-29-2010, 12:31 PM   #55
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It isn't. How many care about movie experts now, for example, before they decide what to see? How many look up stuff about a movie online, comparatively?
Individual critics?--reading of reviews has probably gone down.

But people definitely check the aggregate review sites like Rotten Tomatoes, Meta Critic etc.

I'm in my early 30s and my friends and I always check Rotten Tomatoes before seeing a movie unless it's something that's just a must see for us.

Lots of times I'll go see movies just because they were 95% or higher to see what all the fuss is about.
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Old 04-29-2010, 02:21 PM   #56
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Yes, most of all writing is crappy, but don't forget that most agents and editors wanted to be writers but weren't good enough.
Glad you said "most" -- I never wanted to be a writer and still don't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Nicholson View Post
There is no university degree to be an agent or editor. You go to NY when you are 22 and get a job, then hang around. That's not to say there aren't wonderful, passionate editors, but every single one of them answers to a sales staff, stockholders, and corporate board of directors. It's just not necessarily a system designed to publish the highest-quality books.
Yes, there are university degrees for editorial in the broad sense. At the master's level there are degrees in publishing with emphases on editing.

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Originally Posted by Scott Nicholson View Post
(Incidentally, this is from an author who has been both rejected and accepted by publishers--and my best books were never accepted).
My experience is that authors rarely are good judges of their own work. Not suggesting you aren't or that you aren't right about your own work, but as an outsider, I would wonder if you are correct.
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Old 04-29-2010, 09:32 PM   #57
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Individual critics?--reading of reviews has probably gone down.

But people definitely check the aggregate review sites like Rotten Tomatoes, Meta Critic etc.

I'm in my early 30s and my friends and I always check Rotten Tomatoes before seeing a movie unless it's something that's just a must see for us.

Lots of times I'll go see movies just because they were 95% or higher to see what all the fuss is about.
Exactly. You found out about stuff on *gasp* the Internet. The killer of all things good. A consensus, even, if you like. ;-) Something you can't get from a couple of old farts on tv, or the one guy that has to write 18 50 word bits for a paycheck for the local rag each week.
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