In our world, the barriers to entry are down for fiction.
Thanks to online publishing and Amazon Kindle, anybody can upload a book to the market place.
Not very many are successful, but a lot are that technically should not be.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the opportunity that self-publishing presents, and from my point of view, it is far better than having Publishers as the only way to get your book out there.
With self-publishing you get more money due to larger royalties. You can directly connect with your reader and you can get books out there, faster.
But as I pointed out before, anyone can “publish” a book.
And That’s Not Always A Good Thing.
Imagine if everyone was encouraged to build their own house. No formal training needed. No special skills or any permits required. Just find a bit of land, get the resources you need, and build yourself a house!
How many of those houses do you think would be any good? Actually, how many do you think would be liveable?
With buildings, we trust architects and builders to get it right. We may pay them, but we don’t assume we can do the work ourselves.
With writing, for whatever reason, this line of distinction is blurred. It is this way with a lot of creative fields of work.
A lot of people think that just because they have an idea and can put words on a page, they have the tools they need to write a bestselling book.
I want them to try, to get better, to actually learn the skills they need to be an excellent writer.
But, because of the low barrier to entry, and the “everyone’s a winner” culture, most people self-publish rubbish that really should never have seen the light of day.
If I remember correctly, Stephen King said that a writer should write over 1 million words before he considers publishing anything.
That’s a lot of words to burn through, and our instant gratification obsessed society often wants nothing to do with hard work and discipline.
Before You Publish Anything You Should Make Sure That You Are Good First
You don’t have to be the best, but your product, the book, should at least be functional.
A passable piece of fiction should be coherent, be proof-read and well-edited, have characters the reader can get invested in and a story that has a theme intertwined within it, in some form or another.
It takes a bit of work to be able to do this.
And the reasons why you shouldn’t publish bad fiction?
- You could do better.
We all have to start somewhere, that’s true, but actually putting money behind a piece of work that isn’t very good is pointless.
- You set yourself up for disappointment
With all the work that is out there, do you really want to put out a book that is half-done? Readers are not very forgiving of poorly formatted books or plots that make no sense.
- Worst yet, you might be successful.
This is a strange one, but true. What if you actually found success with you poorly written book? It would encourage you to keep doing what you did, and that was to write badly.
A lot of fiction writers actually “succeed” with their fiction, not because of their skill, but because they can market and they can sell.
This is a hallow victory. If you work is vapid, poorly done, and lacking, where is the joy from profiting from it?
But Those Are Just My Thoughts
And I am not even sure if I believe them, but with the amount of self-published fiction there is, I think people should show some restraint and some self-respect.
Pausing and asking yourself, “Is this the best I can do?” Really could save the markets from thousands more half-finished and poorly stitched together stories.