So, you’ve heard me skim over this subject before, but I’ve been reading a lot of articles on the subject, usually ones entitled ‘Is Self-Publishing destroying literature?’ or ‘Self-Published is the future of literature!’, because anyone arguing either side appears to lack any sense of creativity they may believe that they possess. It would, probably, be more honest to say that I have learnt more from the arguments in the comments section than any actual article provided by the blogger or journalist, but that IS the internet for you.
These are just a few collected arguments for both points of view. You will have my opinions, for what little they are worth, tomorrow, once I have finally allowed myself to get some goddamn sleep after rushing out that coursework last night. If you have any comments with any strong beliefs over either side of the warzone, feel free to argue them til’ you’re blue in the face!
THE DESTRUCTION OF LITERATURE!!!
Of course, I have heard a hundred, hundred arguments for this point of view. That the sheer amount of self-published work, although work is more than likely too strong a term for some of the texts which are being churned out en masse, is making it almost impossible for readers to find anything with any literary ‘worth’. That almost every self-published text is either:
A – A novella about vampires and werewolves,
B – A novella about vampires and werewolves and some unimaginative romance,
C – Just an unimaginative romance,
D – Some kind of fan-fiction,
E – A memoir about someone’s uninteresting life, (though lacking even the squeamish charm of the Grossmiths’ Diary of a Nobody),
F – A Mills and Boon without even that *cough cough* high *cough cough* standard of narrative or originality in character,
G – A fan-fiction memoir about vampires and werewolves involved in some unimaginative romance with sadomasochistic and heavily patriarchal overtones.
These are, not only genres which should not be encouraged to be either written, or read, but are also the most boring, uncreative, asinine and pointless genres that anyone could ever hope to write in though, in many cases, it isn’t so much writing as spitting on a page and proclaiming ‘Look what I can do!’.
They are rarely spell-checked efficiently, almost never use full sentences and, instead, focus on a style of presentation one might adopt when plodding through a fairy-story to a hard of hearing child. They are encouraging people to read dumber, cheaper, easier literature which, in all honesty, does not deserve the term literature, and leaves talented writers who seek to push boundaries and create something that can stand amongst the literary giants of the past, working in dead-end office jobs or hosting symposiums that no one except other writers goes to.
And then, of course, we have the fact that people can boldly claim that ‘reading’ is one of their hobbies, even though their library consists of shitty romance novels, boring young adult fiction, modernised fairy-tales without the charm of Fables and fantasy designed solely to entertain, for a given value of the word entertain, and lacking in any overarching message.
THE FUTURE OF LITERATURE!!!
There equally as many reasons behind why self-publishing is a good thing, in that it opens up the literary world to people whom, otherwise, might not have been able to get involved. It allows people to express themselves in ways they would have been unable to do before. Now, ANYONE can be a writer!
What does it matter if the genres are often similar, if they are sometimes simply written and easy to read? That is what the audience want, they must do, they keep buying the things! And who are these people who judge the books that emerge from other people’s hands? These ‘highbrow’ writers who seem to have such a problem with self-publishing? No one is forcing them to read these books. Perhaps they are simply jealous that people with no training, no years of studying the English language and no overwhelming sense of ‘artistic pretension’ are capable of writing books which appeal more to the average reader?
Just because you happen to think that reading is some mystical art, which requires deep reading of every sentence, does not mean that everyone thinks it is! And anyway, all this innovation you speak of, all this experimental literature hidden amongst the ‘dross’ of our self-published genre-specific works? Nobody wants to read it, besides you!
This ‘literature’ is so far gone, by this point, that only other people who write your highbrow rubbish are capable of understanding it fully. What right do you have to tell us what we can and cannot do, anyway?