Where is the Renaissance?

With so much gnashing of teeth about the poor quality of self-publishers’ editing, and their sometimes non-existent writing skills, you’d think those were the biggest problems. Much less frequently, someone dares to say something about how self-publishing is a golden opportunity for creative independence. Topics that publishers won’t touch because there’s no money in them. Forays into new kind of writing. I don’t know whether those voices are swallowed up in the din of feet rushing to get aboard the latest genre fad, or have drawn back into the shadows, realizing that there’s no creative renaissance to be seen.

I’ve reached a state of apathetic acceptance where bad editing and writing are concerned. Most of the perpetrators don’t know how bad they are or don’t care. If they can pick up a few bucks here and there from gullible fools, it’s no skin off my nose. Scolding isn’t going to make a dent in their self-satisfaction. Neither are blog posts that exhort, plead, and try to shame these little bottom feeders. “You’re making us all look bad!” As if they give a damn.

What bugs me is scouring through listings and finding nothing but more . . . more of everything that’s been done hundreds of thousands of times. But I guess the world really needs more books about the zombie apocalypse. One more book — or a series of them — “inspired” by Twilight. One more big-chested het romance, one more bare-chested m/m romance, one more YA teen heroine who discovers that she’s the lost heir to . . . has hidden powers that . . .

I know there are talented, original writers out there. I’ve even discovered and read a few of them. But it’s a hard slog, and by the time you find one of them, you’re covered with mud and sh-t from wading through the slush that should have been deleted from thousands of hard drives before it saw the light of day.

[End of rant — for this time]


12 thoughts on “Where is the Renaissance?

  1. Ah, but, just because you think it is crap doesn’t mean it is crap to the next person…

    I agree there is a lot of the sameness out there – whether from the big publishers or self-publishers, but I think that is the nature of the game. Folks DO want to read the same kind of stories over and over until they get tired of them and move on. I think it is one of those catch-22 thingies.

    1. I have no problem with people wanting to stay with the familiar — that seems to be a general human trait. What I’m complaining about is the near-absence of originality when the doors have opened wide for it.

  2. Oh well, I’m coming along in September 2013, Catana πŸ™‚ My book’s so original that one of the best agents in Aust’a couldn’t place it. After that, no one would touch it with a 10-foot pole, so I’m doing it myself next year. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the ebook world’s so dumb downed by then that it sinks without a trace.

    1. I know there are independent online publishers, pretty small, but probably not enough of them to make much of a difference. Something new is needed, some way to aggregate writers who don’t fit the mold, and find ways to make them more visible.

  3. Hear ye, hear ye! I, too, am stunned by the tsunami of books about zombies, vampires, and paranormal teens, not to mention memoirs by people whose only distinguishing characteristic is that they live and breathe.

    1. Never thought about it as a tsunami, but that’s a good analogy. Can we hope that a lot of the worst will eventually be carried out to sea and things will get calmer? There are two segments of self-publishers that are responsible — those who hear about people like Locke and what’s her name and think they’re going to make a fortune. Most of them will be disappointed and give up, and maybe that will help damp down the flood. But there are also the people who have some kind of agenda, even if it’s just publishing their Hallmark poetry, or their conspiracy theories or revelations of “the truth.” Those are now free to flood the market, and they do. They just want to be heard, and they’re not going to be discouraged by a lack of monetary success. So it’s a tossup as to what’s going to happen with self-publishing over time.

  4. Great rant, and definitely the same thoughts as many of us had.

    As you read in my post the other day, I came to self publishing after reading an interview with Amanda Hocking; one of the very people I suspect you’re talking about. I had no interest in following the bandwagon, but I was suddenly intrigued that I could do it myself.

    I content myself with thinking that for these people, there will only be a limited number that are extremely successful. Literature and the written word spans centuries, and most will be long forgotten. Add to this the immense amount of marketing that needs to be done for success, and I doubt if many of the hangers-on will have the stamina or determination.

    You’re right that we’ll have to continue wading through the masses to find the hidden gems…but perhaps this is the point. When we come across a truly special book, we’ll be all the more grateful. πŸ™‚

    1. And we need to be more than just grateful, Geoff. We have to support good writing. If you read a book while it’s free, and really think it’s great, make a note to keep an eye out for when the author puts a price on it. I’m always willing to pay, unless the price is out of line. And post reviews where other people will see them.

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