I was having a discussion with some writers and telling them some of the crazy things that authors have done with their queries that made my jaw drop to my lap. It was based on an older blog post – “Hello, is there a brain in the house?” After collecting some titters and gasps of dismay, my buddy Tom blamed this abundance of less-than-clued-in on technology, citing the computer as the harbinger of evil while harkening back to the days when he bought his first typewriter.
Lordy, how I do NOT miss those days of making multiple copies with carbon paper, and how most of the carbon ended up on my white blouse that Mom had just bought and now her intestines were going to explode trying get the stain out. And hey, am I the only one who remembers the intoxicating smell of white-out? Who knew it would become a drug of champions in later years? All I remember is making mistakes didn’t bug me nearly as much. But I digress…
I think buddy Tom makes a valid point with technology. When the digital printing hit the market, this made it possible to print just a few books. Like any new technology, their makers don’t want to keep it quiet, so they needed to figure out how to promote it. I remember seeing the early ads – “Now everyone can be a published author!”
People opened up businesses where they could capitalize on this new technology to sell publication services. Thus the birth of vanity publishing like AuthorHouse, iUniverse, and scads others. Their promotion was compelling: “Everyone deserves to be published!”
And ye, would-be authors, they did cometh. In droves
They surfaced from the woodwork, from under rocks, from nearby bowling alleys, and anyone with a pulse. And believeth, they did. Publishing had now joined the K-Mart era, and books began flying out of digital presses at an alarming rate.
Genre buyers and reviewers were caught with their Vickie Secrets down. “What is this avalanche of crap writing we’re seeing? Who the hell is iUniverse/AuthorHouse/etc.?” Like the beagle late for a margarita, buyers and reviewers shot back with lightening speed and shut the door on them.
And ye, the authors did howleth. “Why, publishing industry, have you forsaken us?”
As it became all too apparent, all too quickly, the quality of writing suffered with this new technology. And what technology giveth, the marketplace taketh away.