It is clear to me that online publishing does not do what it is meant to do.
It is here for several reasons. One is that is is meant to help an author distribute a work that is written in the ”right” way, yet is for some other reason not desirable to traditional publishing houses at the time.
Another is that is is meant to help an author who has something that is written in a non traditional way, yet is special in that it still can engage a reader after a period of time spent reading.
The latter is a kind of writing that i can only describe as “literature”. But being a term whose definition is up to opinion in such complicated times, i will be more specific. What i am in fact referring to, is the artistic novel, compared a novel that is produced as a commodity. (That is, it is written in a certain way, simply to attract readers and gain a following.)
But when less and less readers are interested in this type of literature, it becomes in turn more fashionable for readers to desire that other type of writing; (fiction that is manufactured based on a prescribed formula that has been proven to capture a readers interest.)
I am not saying that there are not many great works that are written in this way. When combined with true inspired storytelling, and sometimes even when not, many of these works are quality pieces of storytelling.
But at the same time, many of these works are three things at once: easy to get into, entertaining, and lacking of any true artistic merit. They may keep a reader glued to the page, but that same reader may often ask himself why he feels nothign after reading; why he forgets the book a week after finishing it, and why it does not leave a lasting impression on him the way certain other works have.
This type of literature took over the traditional publishing world a long time ago, and now it seems that it has taken over the online publishing world as well.
That is a shame.
I am in the position of having written a novel of artistic merit, that just needs to be READ to be appreciated. Unfortunately, nobody on the Amazon Kindle is reading it. Instead, they are judging it before they even begin.
They begin reading it with a mindset of something like this: “Okay, I’m not going to like this. So let me look at it, and see why it sucks, so that i can then laughingly tell others how bad it is, in a smart ass forum post.”
Then, when these people read my book, they are not reading it. Instead, and this is where it gets wild, they are somehow running their eyes along the lines of words, but they are not letting those words do what they are put there to do.
These “nonreaders” are running there eyes through either the first few words, or even the entire first six chapters, without ever actually immersing themselves it the writing.
How is this possible?
Think about it like this. If you are dragged into a theater against your will, to see a movie you know you will probably hate, how likely is it that you will not give it as much of a chance to turn your preconceptions around?
But I figure that with a film, it is tougher to allow your negative preconceptions to ruin the experience for you, if that film is in fact good, because movies are more immersive than novels.
It takes more initial effort to read a book.
My theory is that this select group of online readers which are experiencing a condition which truly is heartbreaking. They are so enslaved by their own preconceptions of what a good novel is supposed to be like, that they decide something is bad even though it is not, rather than actually seeing it for what it is.
It is all about their preconception.
If they had been rummaging through a used bookstore, and come across my novel in the form of a tattered, professionally produced paperback, than they may have given it a chance. As is, they are so convinced that what they will read is rubbish, that not a one of them is actually READING it.
This terrible occurrence is similar to a thing like racism. Before it was the general consensus that black people were the same as white people, nobody gave them a chance.
Bad taste in art, film, music and literature is the same machine. It functions in the same way.
And the people who control the worlds banks, government, and religion, are counting on all of you to not wake up and be able to turn the tables on them.
If we are enslaved by our preconceptions, then we are not moving forward. We believe what we are told, and will not question it when our constitutional rights are continually undermined.
If people thought about other parts of their lives the way these online people think about their novels, we would already be living in a society similar to the one envisioned in George Orwell’s novel 1984.
(Let me be clear: i am not implying that we are far from the state of affairs presented in that prolific novel. I am simply saying that it has not gotten THAT bad yet.)
But i digress.
Many of you consider yourselves to be aficionados of certain types of art. Many of you would not be caught dead listening to Hansen, for example. But beyond simple judgments about certain pop bands, there are deeper levels of artistic opinion.
For example, people who listen to hard core punk cast criticism toward a band like Green Day, whose later albums are considered quality by mainstream critics, but no longer fall under the category of punk rock.
The fact is that in all mediums of art, money, fame and influence have tainted the motives and opinions of the artists and the fans alike. The battle between art as expression and art as a commodity is complicated and interwoven throughout our culture. This has made it harder for a true creative genius to keep producing pure art and still be able to earn a living.
The line between art and commercialism is not as broad as many may think.
The field of literature is strange, in that readers are a minority in our culture. “The book is better thanthe movie” is a common expression among art snobs. Yet most people don’t read. That is why it is harder for people to be convinced that the commercialization of the publishing industry is just as bad as it is in the film or music industry.
This is supported by the opinions that people seem to be expressing about books in online blogs and forums. The ideas that i have been speaking about seem to be something which the majority of these online readers have not even considered.
I have mostly been researching opinions of novels published on Amazon Direct Publishing, for the Kindle. From what i have gathered, most of the people blogging or posting about these online novels are most concerned with finding books that are written in a prescribed manner, and have little or no consideration for artistic merit.
There is so much more to a piece of writing than the personalities of the characters and the storylines, etc. Likewise, there is so much more to a writer than being able to write the way someone else tells them they are supposed to. There is an originality to some literary works that interests me immediately, no matter if they are being sold for food money in a New York subway station, or have been scrawled with a sharpie on the door of a bathroom stall.
The ability to distinguish between true art and a manufactured commodity is a vital tool in the arsenal of a true critic.
But from viewing posts about books on kindle in these forums, and reading blogs elsewhere, it appears not many readers are paying attention to this vital detail.
When reading works from new authors, who have self published their novels on kindle, a reader must be able to differentiate between an inspired work, and one that is simply being written in a prescribed formula that will be guaranteed “not to suck.”
The question of what good writing is certainly needs to be asked.
It seems that the most terrible thing may be happening. People think that one work of writing is good, when in fact is is not. At the same time, everyone thinks a certain work is not good, when in fact it is. I know i am making blanket statements, and it is not so clear cut as that.
But blanket statements exist for a reason. They are mostly accurate when dealing with large numbers.
So it comes down to this. When everyone on here is criticizing a piece of writing because it does not have the type of grammar that it is supposed to, they are not viewing the forest through the trees. They are blinded by preconception, which is making them have bad taste.
I’m sorry. It is true.
I wonder how many truly inspired authors have been shot down by people like this. When everyone is against you, how can you keep going on? It is in fact quite dystopian, is it not?
All of these people are so blinded by their preconceptions that they will surely read this and think to themselves: “Nonsense! Your writing is just not good. You are creating something that is simply not there. I may agree with you about art, and the man and all that, but you are wrong about your writing as being what you think it is.”
My question for them is this: how can they be sure about that until they actually read it with an open mind? The few people who have actually given my work a chance have found that the first few chapters are slow, but that certain parts of the book, including chapters four and five, are amazing. They agree with me that they are on par with any work of science fiction that they have ever read.
If the preceding statement seemed a little grandiose, you must forgive me. But it does not change thefact that these few readers, who enjoyed chapters four and five of my novel, experienced something when reading those chapters. They experienced the pulse pounding tension that is produced by thepages of the thriller novel, when action is taking place.
One man who read those chapters and enjoyed them wrote to me in an e mail, and described them like this:
”The chapter where Will is running from … (spoiler) … was effective and entertaining. I read a lot of Stephen King and have noticed that when the content becomes intense he begins to tell more detail to put me in a sense of urgency and my eyes quickly take in the words, my mind quickly interprets the information, and my heart races. That’s exactly how I felt during this chapter.”
This particular e mail means a lot to me. In a world where i feel that no one reads my book or appreciates it the way i do, this guy got it.
How can this be, if my work is as bad as they say it is? Could it actually be that i am right?
But alas, I find that it is very difficult to convince somebody of something when they have their heart bent on not listening. It is not like it is in the movies, where a speech that is touching enough can teach an old dog new tricks, no matter how much i sometimes wish it was.
It’s like trying to reason with someone who wants to beat you up, who is feeling hate rushing through them like a wildfire. It is impossible, no matter how important your words may be.
So I am asking you all to clear your heads. It is only with an open mind that man can experience thingsthe way they were meant to be experienced. Closed minds only bring stagnation.
I just saw a new book on Kindle whose cover looks, from a distance, almost identical to that of Dan Simmon’s brilliant Hyperion. It is like the dvd covers that make a no name actor look exactly like an a list celebrity, in hopes a careless shopper may pick it up without noticing the deception. These people feel cheated once they pop the dvd into the player, or begin streaming the film online. The day they no longer care, that is what concerns me.