So, what are my opinions? I feel as though I have kept you dangling from ill-informed tenterhooks for too long already, so here we go!
I, as though this were something to be proud of, find myself firmly straddling the fence, as I do on most issues, which do not revolve around religion or what I deem to be ‘real’ music. After all, from here one can see both sides and can realise that the grass is, often, equally brown and equally undernourished on either side.
I understand that most self-published literature is not what I would call literature. But who says it has to be? If the average self-publishing writer wants to, essentially, rewrite a romance that has been written a hundred times before, then good for them, what right do ‘highbrow’ or even lowbrow, but professionally published, authors have to tell them that they can’t? Simply because a publisher has told a writer that their work is good enough, to make the publisher money at least, does not mean that said writer is suddenly the arbiter of all that is literary or not, of all that is worthy or not. Such a degree of arrogance (which I have talked about previously as being one of the most important aspects of being a ‘writer’) is staggering, but not unexpected. Though it may seem to be the coward’s way out of an argument, all that can be said is ‘it is my opinion’. Of course, this is the internet, and we are humans. That will nowhere near be an excuse enough if you disagree with someone else’s view.
Most self-published work is incredibly genre-specific. By that I do mean that a great deal of it is in the form of that little list I showed yesterday, all romance and fantasy and memoir and vampires etc. But, if these ‘legitimately published’, (it makes me sick to hear people use that term to describe themselves), writers are writing things which are so high above these genre-bound works, then what do they have to be afraid of? If the majority of your genre is terrible, then it is not a good genre to be writing in, for the most part. I may be biased here, because I thought self-published novels, novellas and eBooks would be closer to my own ‘work’, if I can call it that, in style than simple, repeated narrative. I thought it would be an exciting new area, where the literary form was being challenged, where innovation was the byword for creativity. Of course, innovation is as equally rare in ‘legitimately published’ works as it is in self-published works, so neither side can really claim the victory there.
As form the most basic degrees of form, spell-checking and grammar and the like, I care little. I have read books written perfectly that have bored me to death and books with huge amounts of spelling mistakes that I have been unable to put down, I still read Will Varley’s Sketch of A Last Day (the link actually leads to my review of that particular eBook) on a regular basis. The main rules of language, much as I wish they were still important, are not to my generation, nor to any generation younger than mine. With entire YA novels writing in TxT SPk, and entire forums occupied by the natural speakers of 1337 (Yes, some people still do use 1337 speak), the rules of language have essentially crumbled. I will continue to write in that way, because it is the way I believe to be right, but soon there will be self-published novels filled to the brim with emoticons in place of descriptions and ‘k’ instead of responses. It makes me sad, sure, but no one speaks like Shakespeare did anymore. Language appears to devolve every few generations, and that is all that is happening here.
As for those people who claim to love reading, though they read nothing but dull romances or whatever drivel that fucking Oprah or Richard & Judy have told them to read, let them. People claim to love music and listen to nothing but shitty mass-produced pop. People claim to love The Beatles and can only screech their way through Yellow Submarine before they realise that they did other songs. That is the human race. We are a vile, ill-educated people, and a bunch of self-righteous ‘highbrow’ authors sitting around in comfy armchairs tutting to themselves that they are unappreciated will not change that one iota.
Finally, for this section at least, we come to the idea that anyone can be an author. Yes, they can. It isn’t really hard to write something, stick it on Amazon’s KDP for 99p and call yourself an artist. But should they? No, of course not. Simply for the fact that most of the drivel sold on such platforms as KDP is not worth being paid the price of the book to read, at least, not to me. Everyone thinks they have something to say, everyone thinks they are special and talented but, they aren’t. Most of us are boring, and nobody listens to a word we say.
OH, but not ME of course! I’m a talented, tortured genius! With that in mind, MY self-published Novella, which is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT TO THE OTHER DROSS OUT THERE, I ASSURE YOU, can be found here in the U.S. or here in the U.K. Look, at least read the sample, alright? I could do with some reinforcement that I’m not one of these people giving self-publishing a bad name.
Wouldn’t that be ironic?