Saturday, August 16, 2014

Lost opportunites

There have been a number of posts in various places, much more learned places than this, about Amazon and e-books. Amazon sent an email to its e-book authors asking us to sign a petition to its commercial disputant. The Wall Street Journal had an unusual free article claiming that public libraries were the place to get e-books from the "authors you want to read". That was a bit unusual as it was both an open access article and they were in favor of governmental action.

There are many established authors politely and not so politely telling us e-book people to stop writing and 'cram it'. Some are even people I used to respect, now I just turn off the radio when they come on. I gather we're supposed to just consume their tripe.

Bugger it all, to borrow a regency swear. I found a copy of 'sell your novel 1985' in my parent's bookshelf. There were all sorts of small paperback publishers that accepted submissions back then. A beginning authoress could at least get a start. That's all gone now. They've either gone bankrupt or been consolidated into major publishers. There is exactly one big publisher that will even look at manuscripts and they take six months to get back to you.

Amazon and smashwords are filling that void. The only way to learn to write is to write. I'm pretty sure that 'Charlotte' is a lot better than 'Katherine's Choice' and I expect that 'Cecelia' will be better still.

They at least provide an outlet for our work. By the way they are making a decent return on us 'authors who no one wants to read'. It's like the turn of the 20th century penny dreadfuls, mostly forgettable fiction (myself included) that is the incubator for much better work to come.