Publish or Perish or be Condemned?

I’ve had a hard time writing this blog today. It isn’t that I couldn’t think of anything to write about. Just the opposite, in fact. The problem is that I’ve had to decide if I want to give more traffic to a site because of a post that had enough people talking about it yesterday that I saw it linked on Facebook several times as well as having several people email me the link. The problem is the link is to an opinion piece — and I’m being generous here — about the evils of self-publishing and how it is ruining, if it hasn’t already ruined, the publishing industry.

Now, you can imagine what my response to that happened to be. Not only have I long been an advocate of self-publishing (as long as you do it right and have quality control in editing and cover design as well as layout) but also small and micro press publishing. I’ve condemned legacy publishing and its gatekeepers for being out of touch with not only emerging technology but public demand. The so-called gatekeepers have abdicated much of their duty to agents and to bean counters all the while putting more and more restrictions on authors in contracts.

So, yes, my exploded when I first read the article.

When you follow the link, you will get an idea about where the commenter stands (sorry, can’t call him an author or a writer. Just can’t.). According to him, “Self-Published Authors Are Destroying Literature.” Well, I don’t know about you, but a lot of so-called modern literature deserves to be destroyed. But that’s just my opinion.

In the first paragraph of the so-called article, Kozlowski talks about self-published authors with “insistent need to spam social media and pump out a copious amount of horrible ebooks. . . .” He complains that self-published books are found right there along with what I assume he thinks are “real” books on Amazon and other online retailers. He moans about how these authors use social media to “literally beg for sales.”

Funny, I see just as much from traditionally published authors pushing their books on social media as I do from self-published authors. Talk to any author who is currently working with a legacy publisher — and who is willing to be honest about how things work — and you will find that they are “encouraged” to do as much marketing and promotion on social media sites as they can. Push for a book comes from its author now, not the publisher, unless that book has been tagged to be the next best seller by the publisher.

As for finding self-published book right there alongside traditionally published books, well, that is true. I’ll also admit that there have been other folks who have asked Amazon and other online retailers to somehow clue buyers into the fact that the e-book they are considering purchasing is being sold directly from the author and not from a “real” publisher.

My problem with this is two-fold. First, it isn’t Amazon’s — or any other retailer’s — job to do that. Besides, all you have to do is scroll down to the publisher’s information on the product page to get the information you need. Right there, it lists “published by” or “publisher” depending on what site you happen to be on. Don’t recognize the name, google it. But let’s face it, how many readers out there actually pay attention to who the publisher is?

But, Amanda, that’s the point. Most of us don’t know the publishers and you can’t really expect us to work at finding out if an author is self-published or not.

Ah, my children, you don’t have to. If you are worried that an author might be self-published and, therefore, part of the unwashed wannabe literati, there’s a wonderful think you can do with almost every e-book retailer out there: download a sample. Those free downloads are marvelous tools. They let you see not only the opening of a book or short story, but you can see the writing style of the author, if the e-book has been edited and proofread (are there a lot of typos, misspellings, etc.) and if the e-book is well formatted.

Oh yeah, those are free. Everyone — except Harlan Ellison — likes free.

But let’s continue.

Kozlowski goes on to note that Bowker reported that 12% of e-books sold are now from self-published authors. In some genres, that goes up to 20%. Of those, Kozlowski states that 95% of those e-books are “insufferable and are written to capitalize on trends in publishing, with authors trying to emulate successful writers such as E.L. James or Cassandra Claire.”

Of course, there is no statistical proof offered for his 95% figure, nor does he define his terms. As for the books being written to capitalize on trends in publishing, give me a break. What does he think legacy publishers do? How many books were contracted for by publishers during the height of the Harry Potter craze that were about boy wizards or wizardy schools? How many Twilight clones and sparkly vampires have we been subjected to as a result of that series? And let’s not forget the publisher who pulled an entire line of books after Fifty Shades of Grey took off (which, btw, was first self-published and is NOT well-written or edited, even after being picked up by a legacy publisher) to make sure all its covers told readers that these were books in the vein of FSOG?

But I guess Kozlowski has no problem with “real” publishers doing what he condemns in self-published works.

A couple of paragraphs later, he condemns Amazon because it doesn’t have anyone “proofreading or editing” the books in its KDP program. Uh, wait, is he saying Amazon should be the publisher because isn’t that what he says publishers do? The KDP program isn’t there for editing and proofreading. It is there as a platform for self-published authors and small presses to be able to get their books into the hands of readers. And why does he only point out that Amazon doesn’t do quality control? None of the major retail sellers do. So I have to assume at this point that Kozlowski is one of those on the “Amazon is evil” bandwagon.

“One thing indie authors have done is devalue the work of legitimate published authors. You know the type that write for a living, who have an editor and are considered accomplished, or at least well-read.”

When I first read that, I didn’t know whether to explode my head or his. According to this statement, you are not a “legitimate” author unless you are published by a real publisher, a legacy publisher is my guess. You have to write for a living. But what about all those writers who are traditionally published but who don’t make enough money to “write for a living”? I guess they don’t factor into Kozlowski’s formula, even though they are the vast majority of authors. And what about those self-published authors who do make enough to live off their writing?

Oh, he does back off a little for the “hybrid” authors, but those are, according to him, authors who “cut their teeth” in legacy publishing and now self-publish for a bit more control. The problem with this is that his own arguments against self-publishing would cut against these so-called hybrid authors when it comes to their self-published work. Where is the editor and proofreader and publicist he seems to think are necessary to make an author a “real” author?

But the telling point — or points — come in the last paragraph and in his responses to the comments left by readers of the post. It becomes clear that he feels that the influx of self-published authors, and their work in genre, is killing LITERATURE. You know, all those stories you hated to read in school because they did not entertain. Sure, you can educate and inform in genre fiction. Most of us try to do that — but without preaching or using a sledgehammer on our readers. You’ll sell a lot more books if there is a good story, one that involves and entertains the reader. But that’s a point missed by Kozlowski.

As for his responses to the comments left by readers of the post, well, go look for yourself. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if he is someone who tried to submit to a “real” publisher and was turned down and has since decided that everyone should suffer as he has or if he just doesn’t get it. Maybe he’s just a literary snob. I don’t know and I don’t really care — except when it comes to such blanket statements of condemnation as he propagated.

In fairness to the site as a whole, they did publish a counterpoint article by another of their staff. You can find it here.

As for me, well, I’ll continue writing and selling on my own or through Naked Reader Press, a nice little micro press that most definitely isn’t a legacy publisher. Frankly, at the moment there’s only one traditional publisher I’d consider going with and that’s Baen because it does treat its authors like people and not cattle and it does listen to its readers.

Now go, my friends, read the comments to Kozlowski’s post and judge for yourself as you see his responses. Oh, and let me know what you think!

86 comments

  1. What a rude, insufferable cad. There were some great comments there, but obviously he’s too stuck up his own… um, to ever hear reality knocking. I’m ignoring people like this. My plans are very long-term, and my personal honor dictates that I only publish good work, not dreck. But it also dictates that I not write ‘literature’ because that would be abandoning the true purpose of my writing for something that ought only be done in private with a handwashing afterward.

    1. Cedar, my sentiments exactly. Plus, as I said over the weekend, I’m a hack and proud of it. I have no problem making money for writing. In fact, I want to make money from it. I know too many “literary” writers who don’t.

      Would I like to have a contract with a traditional publisher? Absolutely — as long as it was with Baen. But I’ve seen too many examples of poor editing and lousy proofreading coming from legacy publishers to buy into the need for gatekeepers any more.

  2. I’m sorry. Was E.L. James referred to as a successful writer? I’m more offended by the “writer” part of that sentence than anything else. This guy obviously is confused because, as you stated, if he did his research he would know Fifty Shades of Terrible Writing…er…Gray was originally self-published (bad) fan-fiction. I know fan-fic has its place any many people enjoy reading it, but if THAT is his standard of literature, then destroy away, self-publishers!

    1. LOL. You reacted exactly as I did. That was the point where my head did explode.

      There’s a book Sarah and I discovered some years ago at RWA National. We’ve used it since then as an example of what not to do. We’ve been known to read parts of it aloud to see how long our companions can keep a straight face. We’ve also used it as an example of what’s wrong with publishing today because this book is the first volume in a series of equally bad written books. FSOG has, in my opinion, replaced it. Or at least rests right there with it at the top of the list.

      1. I’m always amused when I find really terribly written books—they do seem to run in series, don’t they?Although I feel a tiny bit bad for bashing a…I hesitate to say fellow writer…(fellow human?) it always makes my inner editor/critic/writer cringe to read such poorly constructed prose. On the one hand, they ARE published authors, but on the other, they’ve published garbage.

        I found one such book on a friend’s shelf that was clearly spawned from the Sparkly Vampire craze (think fallen angels in biology instead) and read several chapters allowed—I laughed so hard I cried, and it was not meant to be funny. One can definitely learn how NOT to write from them!

        1. Most definitely. The book Sarah and I found at RWA was not the only laughable one. The one about the vampire marrying the fashion designer and grabbing her at the end of the book so they could fly off together was another. I’m not sure what got me more — the wedding in the church (and here I thought vampires had a real problem with churches and crosses and things), the toasts with manufactured bubbly blood or the flying off together when she was still human.

          1. After realizing, much to my chagrin, that Twilight was my only literary vampire experience, I finally started reading Anne Rice. Her vampires are fine with churches but…what? Vampire and fashion designer wedding…I can’t even wrap my mind around the fact that that’s a real thing…

            1. I might be wrong, and it might have been a fashionista or even a shoe designer. But it really was one of those “WTF” moments.

                1. Gawd, you’re right. I’m glad I forgot — but now you reminded me and there just isn’t enough mental bleach. Waaaaaaaaah!

  3. Never heard of this person before, Or his site. Won’t ever visit again. The nice thing about the Internet is you can totally ignore things you don’t like.

    That even applies to social media. You can block people from your feeds and not see their comments.

    I personally never see this endless din of publicity by hack self-pubbed authors (nor do I see it much by trad pub ones) becasue I simply block that stuff for the most part. Furthermore Amazon does a great job of suggesting stuff that your friends bought and so on. Now sometimes you get some really weird things in there but the recommendation along with the free sample reppty much replictes the book store browsing thing.

    I haven’t bought an ebook (indie or otherwise) that wasn’t recommened by someone I know – or is someone I know or is a frequent commenter/poster on webstes I visit and/or FB groups I’m a member of – or wasn’t recommended by amazon based on oter things I bought and I sincerely doubt I’m going to start anytime soon.

    1. Now you’re applying logic and real life experience. Don’t you know you aren’t supposed to do that? Sheesh. 😉

      That’s one of the problems I have with articles like the one I linked to. The poster — I still refuse to call him writer or author — refuses to admit readers are discerning enough to do exactly as you do or as I suggested and check out the free sample. Just like he refuses to admit or even realize that there is a lot of trash out there published by “real” publishers all in the name of literature.

      1. I haunt the freebie lists because I currently don’t have the money to buy more than maybe one, or sometimes two to three if we are talking the cheaper paperbacks, traditionally priced book per month and that’s not enough. Surprisingly many of those freebies are more or less readable, not necessarily that many keepers there but not that many of the ones I have bought from the book stores as paperbacks are that either. And I have found series and writers I liked enough to buy some of the other books, especially when those other books are the cheaper self-published ones. Not much to think about when the choice is between a) one or two traditionally published novels which probably cost close to 8 or 9 euros as paperbacks and ebooks or b) twice or thrice as many self-published kindle ebooks from writers I have already read and found to be good enough.

        1. I look at the lists are well. My mother is a voracious reader — makes me look bad. If I had to buy a book every time she ran out, I’d never see the end of my credit card bills. As is, by checking the freebie lists, looking at the description, the reviews and the free sample, I have found her a number of books she’s really enjoyed that I’d never have bought. And that, in turn, has sold copies of other books by those authors because they are often indie or small/micro press published authors and I can buy their books at a fraction of the price of the legacy published books.

  4. Thank you, Amanda, for posting the link to this article that gave me so many laughs to start my day off right. Reading it, I kept hearing Harvey Korman from “History of the World, Part I” inside my head: “Sire, the peasants are revolting!”

    I especially love his line about how indie’s lower pricing “devalues” the work of “legitimate published authors.” When I can so often go out and buy a physical paperback of a traditionally published book more cheaply than I can it’s ebook version, there’s something seriously wrong with the “legitimate” pricing structure. But it’s more emotionally satisfying to rail on against indie, I guess, than consider that traditional publishers are devaluing their own product (and “legitimate authors”) by overpricing them.

    1. Wesley, glad I started your day with a laugh. And you’re right — Harvey Korman would be saying just that in this situation. You’re also right about the pricing of soft cover books v. e-books. Of course, the difference is that publishers don’t look at e-books as “real” books, only licenses we rent, nothing more.

  5. ” . . . the deeply corrupt world of self-publishing . . . ”

    So . . . this guy is unaware of the newest trends in traditional publishing contracts? Their acquisition of shady vanity presses? Never heard a “real” author complain about dubious accounting by her traditional publisher?

    Let’s face it. The man hasn’t a clue.

  6. The other funny bit was reading the poster’s replies to his commenters. His replies were riddled with errors. I think he’s devaluing something. I’m sure of it.

  7. “”When I first read that, I didn’t know whether to explode my head or his.”

    When given a choice between exploding your head or the other guy, generally speaking, choose the other guy’s head.

    1. True, but that still leaves the memory of the idiocy in my head. Besides, if I explode the other guy’s head, don’t I have to clean up the mess?

  8. Thanks for taking the time to do a proper fisking of this worthless article. I’m more of the “address the stupid as it comes” type.

    1. No doubt he does because they haven’t been proven and don’t put out “literature”, only that icky genre stuff.

  9. The changes in printing technology that allowed cheap paperback books to flood the market after the Second World War were supposed to destroy literature. Book clubs were supposed to destroy literature. Popular fiction sections in lending libraries were supposed to destroy literature. Books on tape were supposed to destroy literature. If you go back far enough, printing novels in English rather than Latin was going to destroy literature.

    Let’s face it, literature has been declared dead often enough to be a character on “Supernatural”. The damned thing just won’t stay dead.

    1. LOL. Maybe we need to call Buffy and the Scooby Squad to deal with it once and for all. Or do you think the literati have literary necromancers to resurrect it yet again?

        1. But do they sparkle? If they are real evil publishing necromancers, they sparkle. At least when those upstart indies set a torch to them (bwahahahahahaha)

          1. Wen Spencer found the perfect tool for that. Just watch Pittsburgh Backyard and Garden for proper tips on dealing with vampires and those nasty carnivorous weeds:

  10. Rachel Thompson’s good ereads comment is to the point:
    “Kozlowski’s basic assumption with his piece is that readers are stupid. Too dumb to know when they are reading a terrible book. ”
    Now I’ve had the fortunate or unfortunate opportunity to have sat in the panels of a good portion of the gatekeepers over the years at Luacons over the last 20 odd years or so. Bighead altruists they are not. Having seen thier pettiness, their immunity from reality and their invincible self assurance I understand the current state of the genre.

    1. John, the fact is that there are too many publishers, editors and agents who also seem to feel readers are dumb. All you have to do is look at the arguments for e-book prices as high as hard cover prices, or close to it. According to those same publishers, et al, it costs as much to produce an e-book as it does a print book. Never mind that if you are already publishing the book in print, you’ve done the edits, the copy edits, the proofreading. Forget the fact there is no printing or transportation costs, much less storage. I love the one publisher who said an e-book had to be edited again, even though it had already been edited for print release. (Shakes head)

      1. Amanda, the big publishers have been demonstrating that they are clueless about ebooks right from the beginning. I remember how Baen got started and how we used to discuss the various business models and how many experiments Jim Baen did. All of how Baen deals with ebooks came from being willing to think outside the box and try stuff. We used to laugh when somebody would post in the bar that somebody had pirated a Baen book. It turned out that pirated copies had the interesting habit of increasing sales of an authors other books and wasn’t really a serious issue simply because Baen made the books cheap and easy to buy. It’s hard to compete with free or books for a buck. The killer issue turned out to be DRM, because people wanted to own the books and not rent them. The mainstream publishers still haven’t caught on ten years later.

        1. There was an idiot who came to the Bar and offered to sell some Baen eBooks for half-price. Apparently he was a supporter of DRM who wanted to make a point. The “point” he got was that nobody (apparently) on the Bar or with Baen were worried about his attempt. [Evil Grin]

          1. But, but, but…didn’t he prove DRM is good and piracy bad?

            Gawd, I can’t even type that with a straight face.

        2. Oh, I know. And those same publishers still curse the name Jim Baen for daring to spoil the foolish readers and letting them think 1) that e-books are good and 2) that e-books don’t have to be laden with DRM nor do they have to cost as much as physical books. Most of all, they hate that Jim and Toni and the rest of Baen believes e-books are just as much books as a physical copy is.

          1. And that he would give ebooks for free. they never understood that that was using the crackdealer model. the first one’s always free, copy and distribute the disk. Get readers hooked. I thought that was the whole point. Yet, I keep seeing throughtout the media, the thought “it’s mine, it’s mine, you can’t be allowed to have it, only rent it.” They can’t see that their entire attitude is costing them in ways they don;t understand.

            1. John, it’s hard to see when you have your head buried in the sand and your fingers in your ears and you are busy singing to yourself so you can’t hear the bean counters telling you that something is wrong and your profits are dropping.

                1. Gawd. BTW, want your morning laugh? Go down-thread and read the response by Kozlowski. We really are in trouble now. He’s condemning us. Oh, we must change our ways. Snarf!

                    1. You figured it out? I’m still trying to. I’m afraid I’ve had one too many brain cells explode trying to follow his so-called arguments and logic.

  11. It’s interesting that some of the “name” authors started in the Indie category. Scalzi, Doctrow, Correia. There’s an indie author, Chris Nuttall – who has many of his fans soliciting an editor to pick him up as well. So – for my money – indie authors should go right ahead and do what they do best – write th

  12. There’s a number of “name” authors who started on the indie route – Scalzi, Doctrow, Correia – to name three off the top of my head. Our Hostess – whom I’ve had the pleasure of reading some of her works. I think indie authors should do what they do best – tell a great story and let the readers decide.

  13. I will leave you self-publishing morons with people who said it better than me.

    Brad Thor recently said, “The important role that publishers fill is to separate the wheat from the chaff. If you’re a good writer and have a great book you should be able to get a publishing contract.” Sue Grafton mentioned, “To me, it seems disrespectful… that a ‘wannabe’ assumes it’s all so easy he can put out a ‘published novel’ without bothering to read, study, or do the research… Self-publishing is a shortcut and I don’t believe in shortcuts when it comes to the arts. I compare self-publishing to a student managing to conquer Five Easy Pieces on the piano and then wondering if he’s ready to be booked into Carnegie Hall.” Finally, Olen Steinhauer expressed his concern by saying, “The ebook changes nothing from an author perspective—I’m a big consumer of ebooks. But the ‘noise’ of self-publishing is so vast. I worry that writing is becoming steadily devalued.”

    Who came to the aid of indie authors against these disparaging remarks? Hugh Howey, of course, and in his typical fashion blasted those who disagreed with him by saying, “Make no mistake, there is a revolution afoot. A technological revolution. A societal revolution. A revolution of artists. It has already hit every major sector of the entertainment industry: music, film, television, comedy, photography. And now the tools of self publishing are slicing through the publishing world like a gleaming guillotine slamming down on a steaming pile of bullshit. Sue Grafton stated in the original interview that if you write a great work, the universe will come to your aid. If you want to understand the outcry this remark engendered, know that we have just had our Marie Antoinette moment. A beloved queen of the old order has leaned out over the ramparts, peered down at the huddled masses, the beleaguered and starving artists, and has admonished us with: ‘Eat your #$#@! cake.’”

    1. When you have actually dealt with publishers, seen the contracts they are forcing authors to accept if they want to be traditionally published and have dealt with the “creative” bookkeeping they use to report royalties, then MAYBE folks will take you seriously.

      But, sorry, publishers don’t edit like they used to. Go compare the quality of editing of a legacy published book today to that of one published thirty years ago. I don’t mean a best seller — although those usually suffer as well — I’m talking the bread and butter of publishing (although they won’t ever admit it): the mid-list books. Look at the lack of copy editing and proofreading.

      Now, go look at the number of authors who have, after long careers with legacy publishers, have decided not to sign contracts when offered. Why? Because they were already doing the work of their publishers. They were hiring editors to edit the book after the publisher had already supposedly edited it. They were having to market and promote the book because the promised promotion never came — or because the publisher (and the author’s agent) told them they had to promote it anyway.

      As for me, as I said in my post the other day, I’m a hack and proud of it. I will laugh all the way to the bank as I make more on my micro press published books (which I’m sure you lump in with the great unwashed masses of indie books) since I am making more there than a lot of traditionally published authors. Oh, btw, I’m making that on books I couldn’t get a traditional publisher to touch and I’m glad since my royalty rates are more than double what I’d have gotten from them and the press I’m published through doesn’t rely on the hand-wavium of BookScan for reporting sales.

      So go back to your elitist view and climb into the metaphorical bed with the publishers who are out of touch with what readers want. Oh, but I guess you don’t give a flying fig about what readers want to read. So, bye-bye. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. We’re readers and writers and and damned proud of it.

    2. Brad Thor recently said, “The important role that publishers fill is to separate the wheat from the chaff. If you’re a good writer and have a great book you should be able to get a publishing contract.”

      And right there we have two problems.
      1) The publishers may have been separating the wheat from the chaff but they have also been separating the wheat from the wheat so you can only get (say) red wheat not yellow wheat, orange wheat etc. That’s a problem for everyone who likes yellow and orange wheat and especially those that dislike red wheat.

      2) The assumption that a writer wants a publishing contract. From what I’ve read around the Internet, these days the contracts of traditional publishers are excessively loaded towards benefitting the publisher while slighting the author. From a commercial stand point it probably doesn’t make sense to get one these days unless you are already famous (so you have some leverage) or you have a way to use the existence of the contract to get additional compensation from someone else

      1. Francis, you are using logic again. What have I told you about? 😉

        Sure, you can get a publishing contract if you write a great book of the exact right message that the publisher is pushing at that moment and if you are lucky enough to have someone actually decide to be your agent and if that agent is smart enough or lucky enough to get your book to the right editor at the right publisher at the right moment. . . you get my drift. But that ought to be good enough for all of us who want to write, at least according to Kozlowski. I guess he is one of those who buys into the “suffer for your art” mantra, as long as suffering means not getting published because you weren’t in the right place at the right time even though Hack Author with an Agent was.

    3. “Separate the wheat from the chaff”? That’s so freaking laughable I can barely keep my fingers hitting the right keys to type this.

      The amount of sheer dreck put out by the big publishers in the past 20-30 years is astounding. Some of these people you are insulting could probably write grocery lists more interesting than many of the pieces of bilge on the betsseller lists. Go peddle your BS elsewhere. No one is buying here.

      1. Well said, Wayne, and you are right. I’d rather read Sarah’s or Dave’s shopping list othan most of what passes through the gatekeepers these days.

    4. You know your comment would have been better if you hadn’t used EL James and Cassandra Clarie as authors that we, the lowly readers should read. The that drek like that even gets published, yet alone pushed into best sellerdom is a statement as to what is wrong with the system. In all actuality it isn’t the self publishing authors who are saying “let them eat cake.” It’s the queens of the tall office buildings that push drek that treats me, the reader with that kind of contempt. The reason the market in indie is growing so fast is that readers want meat, not the crusts that legacy publishers are feeding us at ever increasing prices. Maybe for some people, a twilight sparkly vampire novel is enough. After all our school system has been making huge efforts to teach people not to think or dream. For a lot of us, though we need something better. Now that the tools are available, we the readers will create what we want even if the gatekeepers in their high tower won’t.

      1. But, John, we aren’t smart enough to figure out how to find books we want to read. Isn’t that basically what that guy is saying? Isn’t that why we need gatekeepers?

            1. You know I’ve grown up with people who make lots more money than I do and that doesn’t impress me anymore. Being lucky or smart in one area doesn’t make you smart in all things I’ve grown up with people from the Ivy Covered Snob Factories who claimed the were my intellectual betters and found that they couldn’t keep up with me on things where they supposed to be expert. Why I should let fools, who because of luck or kissing the right butts make my choices for me is beyond me.
              The thing is that in the current world everything has a market and will find it.

                1. It’s called the long tail and it’s going across everything, not just literature. People aren’t going to settle for McD’s plain hamburger when they can have a full up bacon cheeser with all the fixings. McD’s understands that, why can’t the big six. Of course I think we will be surprised how quickly they become the little six and then the nowhere to be found out of business six.

                  1. He reminds me of the articles i used to read in the paper in the 80s talking about how (the writer) didn’t see how we needed all these cable TV networks, that the broadcast networks were fine.

      1. I saw the link when it first appeared and could only shake my head. Now, reading the post again, I have to laugh. If he “started my career as a published author” with taking his photo in front of his mirror, that should have been his first clue he might just be doing something wrong.

    5. Dearie me, “goodereader”. You really must try to stay on your medications. The mess that happens when you go off them in public like this is just too horrific.

      I’m sure you could have found a better way to make yourself look more like an elitist ass-licking moron if you’d tried, but you would have had to really try.

      Some little tidbits of information for you for when – if – you return to something resembling sanity.

      #1: Traditional publishing has been systematically excluding anything that isn’t what the in-group wants. This leaves authors who write old-fashioned space opera, military science fiction, historical romance without modern-minded heroines, and numerous other sub-genres with no choice but independents.

      #2: Quality? Really? I’ve seen better work on fanfiction.net than a lot of recent publications. Some of it is better proofed than I’ve seen in the publications that supposedly got all the quality checks. You apparently also missed the failure of the “layers and layers of fact checkers” in some of the recent plagiarism scandals, too.

      #3: If you write a great work the universe will NOT come to your aid. This is the Stockholm Syndrome bullshit that those who were lucky enough to have something the establishment wanted have convinced themselves in order to stay moderately sane.

      #4. Current publishing industry practices would, if looked at closely, see every publisher in the business shut down over fraud, racketeering, price fixing, protection rackets, and outright theft. Every author knows this. Many will not admit it even to themselves, especially if they are the beneficiary of these practices.

      In short, never mind “Let them eat cake”, the publishing industry of today is throwing the rest of us their shit and getting upset because we don’t believe them when they tell us it’s cake, we refuse to eat it, and we’ve gone off to figure out how to make our own bread.

  14. It’s about chronic insecurity, really. I mean how are those _IDIOTIC_ readers supposed to know _I’m_ a literary genius, a you are so priveleged to be allowed to read, if other people can just… put their books on the same shelf Wahhhhhhh! And worse, possibly outsell me by several orders of magnitude. They need guidance!

    1. Oh, Dave, you didn’t have them screaming/crying long enough. The poor things really do need to develop a thicker skin. Of course, so does the guy who wrote (gawd, I hate to use that verb for what he did) the original article. Check out his response. Poor baby is upset and irritated that we didn’t fall down in awe at his brilliance.

  15. If only publishers did separate wheat from chaff I might have enjoyed more of my required reading lists in school. Alas, being published by a big name publisher is no guarantee of quality.

    1. I have to agree with you there. The reading lists my son had to read and, before that, that I had to read were enough to make you weep for the want of a good story.

  16. I may be a day late and a five bucks short (Taxes you know) but I am wondering if I’ve been had.

    I have never heard of Michael Kozlowski or goodereader before so I looked at a couple of their articles. Most of their articles appear to be regurgitated press releases from gadget, software, and book publishers. Most have no comments and appear innocuous.

    http://goodereader.com/blog/e-book-news/feature-indie-authors-enjoy-more-access-to-sales-metrics-than-traditional-ones/
    http://goodereader.com/blog/e-book-news/lulu-abandons-drm-for-indie-authors/
    http://goodereader.com/blog/e-book-news/usa-library-invites-indie-authors-to-submit-ebooks/

    A quick search didn’t reveal any animosity to indie writers until a couple of days ago when he appeared to have suddenly discovered Sturgeon’s Law. “Ninety percent of everything is crap” (I would go as high as ninety five percent of everything is crap but that’s just a quibble.)

    Now he may mean everything he posts and we will destroy literature. If I can destroy it, it probably deserves to die. Mercy killing you know.

    Or he may be following Stacey McCain’s rules for how to get a million hits on your blog. Specifically Rule 4 – Make Some Enemies
    http://rsmccain.blogspot.com/2009/02/how-to-get-million-hits-on-your-blog-in.html

    After all, flame wars and pro wrestling share a certain spectator-friendly quality.

    As I see it there are three possible motives for his posts.
    1. The idiot really believes it.
    2. He’s just a jerk.
    3. Blog whoring for traffic.

    1. RR, you had some of the same concerns/questions I did when I first saw the post. My radar started going off when the site description included something along the lines of “the most visited/followed ebook site”. (I don’t remember exactly the description, but it was along those lines.)

      My guess is that he’s either gotten into an argument with someone else on the “staff” at the site and is trying to show how much better he is than them or, as someone else commented on another site in response to the post I linked to, he is trying to drive traffic because he has bills due. Either way, he’s being a prat in how he answers folks both on the site and elsewhere, including here and on Twitter.

      You notice he came here, said his bit and tried his best to not only prove how much better he is than the rest of us but also insult us in the process. But funny, he hasn’t been back, nor did he provide any of the hard facts and figures he’s been taken to task for not citing here, in the comment to his own post and elsewhere.

      1. From what I’ve seen over the last day or so, he’s essentially repeating the same comment post everywhere. Just some variations in the cut-and-paste.

  17. Yes. I thought the “I will leave you self-publishing morons” part was a little too cute since it was his first post here. He must have lost track of where he was trolling.

    1. Maybe I should be upset he didn’t get here sooner?

      Nah….I’ll be upset if he keeps coming back and spewing his stoooopidity.

    2. RR, he wasn’t saying he was going to leave, he was saying he was leaving the comments of other people here, as part of his regurgitation on the blog. Apparently because he can’t come up with his own, I guess.

  18. Just for fun…

    Khepri!

    Have you seen these abominations! Taking cuneiform off of clay tablets and writing on papyrus! It’s going to destroy literature! We have to stop them!

    Brother Alphonse!

    Have you seen these abominations! Taking holy verse out from under the illuminators’ hands and mashing out with tin and ink! It’s going to destroy literature! We have to stop them!

    X3J9!

    Have you seen these abominations! They’re taking bits right out of the ereaders and turning them into neural experiences right in people’s brains! It’s going to destroy literature! We have to stop them!

    Poor old literature. Every time somebody makes it easier for other people to get what they want, it’s the end of the world for literature. And yet somehow…

    Just about everybody still likes a good story.

    Even if some of them do come in strange new shapes, with visions of what could be.

    Keep reading! And writing! The best is yet to come.

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