Thanks to Amazon’s ‘instant’ publication feature for Kindle, more and more people are jumping on the author band wagon. While it has been a god-send for those authors committed to producing the absolute best work they have to offer, the ease of uploading a Word file and becoming an insta-author has caused a massive influx of mediocre drivel that has caused many, many readers to boycott SPAs completely.
And who could blame them? Gone are the days when books were re-written, proofread, and edited within an inch of their lives. Gone too, it appears, is any set of standards or dignity when it comes to producing quality work. People are no longer enlisting the help of professional editors to help them clean up the mistakes, develop their writing style, and polish the work so that it flows smoothly from beginning to end. It’s the lazy man’s way of writing, and anything goes.
These days any old thing will do, from poorly edited train wrecks with shifting tenses, wrong word usage, missing words, and typographical errors to poorly written pieces that are hallmarked as a ‘writer’s’ first attempts evident by the sheer number of errors, lack of any discernable syntax, no plot or character development, and zero writing style. The entire self-publishing craze has left the literary world awash in a sea of utter garbage, and thanks to such atrocities as Fifty Shades, even the formerly noble art of writing erotic romance has given way to stories and novels that read like badly directed D-rated porn flicks. More and more people are pushing ‘publish’ on the first thing that pops into their heads, leaving readers wondering what on earth happen to the art of the written word.
The entire process has made it quite an ordeal for professional authors who value their reputation and stake their name and their success on their ability to produce a well crafted piece to rise up above all the false advertisements and astroturfing to get their names out there. For those who choose to NOT stoop to the level of the other wannabe writers plaguing Amazon and GoodReads, it is becoming increasingly harder to rise up above all the fakery. Professional indie authors are being forced to either see their works fail miserably while all the other drivel gets snatched off the proverbial shelves, or begin participating in the same under-handed, sneaky marketing gimmicks that the less-than-scrupulous writers are doing.
It seems that the vast majority of the literary world has been reduced to little more than half-assed words slung at a page. It’s degrading as an author who takes pride in her work to be lumped in the same category as some of these people. Being a writer has always been a profession that was looked down on by the rest of the world, as if we were somehow less of an artist, as if our work did not count. Many of us have to work full time jobs because writing doesn’t pay well enough to cover the bills or feed our kids, and yet those of us who continue to take pride in our work and are dedicated to producing a quality product are being shoved further and further down the literary pole because readers simply can’t find a good indie book. It’s sickening, disheartening, and worst of all, it’s unfair to readers to constantly swindle them out of money by allowing fake reviews to trick them into thinking they are getting a professional product when all they are really getting is someone’s latest attempt to cash in on the whole business.
So where does that leave us? For readers, LEAVE REVIEWS. This simply cannot be stressed enough. If you come across something that isn’t suited to be used in the bottom of your cat’s litter box, then LEAVE A REVIEW. When you come across a great read, then LEAVE A REVIEW. Stop being passive about the whole thing while moving on to the next book. SPEAK UP.
In time, when enough reviews have been left that attest to the true quality of the writing, the fake reviews will no longer apply and readers will stop buying. Eventually the problem with badly written self-published books will take care of itself, allowing the good writers to once again be noticed and purchased. But that will only happen if readers stand up for themselves. STOP just assuming that the problem will go away on its own. Never underestimate the power of the review. It has caused many a writer to stop writing, and when used properly, it can stop the influx of drivel from taking over our lives.