Wednesday, June 12, 2013

AK Taylor – Things in the Publishing Industry That Annoy Me

Things in the Publishing Industry That Annoy Me

by AK Taylor

During my course of life I have been able to explore a couple different industries, and each of them has things that people do not like or annoys them. Glad to get that out of the way first. The publishing industry is not so different.

I suppose el numero uno—ergo, number one—are the politics. This is the thing that frustrates and annoys me the most out of everything, and it seems to drive the other annoyances. I think the publishing industry’s politics rival that of government politics everywhere. The two main parties who really matter are the authors and the readers—the producer and the consumer if you will. That was the case way back before publishers, booksellers, and PR firms ever existed—when all you needed was a storyteller, listeners, and a campfire. When the first books came about, they were written by hand in which case they were read by one who could read aloud or silently—literally handed to the reader by the author.

Somehow or another the other parties that are simply hired by the author to get their product packaged, pretty, and available to their consumers (readers) have run amok and have become the obstacles that must be overcome—well, until recently, but major stratagems for reaching public awareness are tightly controlled by the “trusts”. Many large publishers act almost like the trusts at the turn of the 20th century like Carnegie Steel and Standard Oil. Why? Because of politics.

The publishers aren’t the only ones to blame here. These bookseller flame wars that have been going on while the two parties who really matter get caught in the middle and suffer the most, because said parties don’t matter as much as squashing the other retailer. Kind of like the two nerds who get caught in the middle of two football players brawling in the locker room. Of course, I cannot help but to also bring up the sock puppets… All of this unnecessary stuff has clogged the pipeline. Readers and authors everywhere hold up their hands, shake their heads and say, “What the heck, people? Can’t you see what you’re doing to us? That’s not why you exist!” Nope. Don’t see. Don’t care, it seems.

Another thing that annoys me are the “rules” and nitpicking. The kind that seem to stifle creativity—the same kind that tries to “put everyone inside a box”. Free thinkers are not welcome or they call the firing squads and fire missiles their way until they are blasted to oblivion (as long as others’ rights are not violated, BTW). This is a commonality with publishing and the science industries. How else are the next breakthrough discoveries or next big things that are standing out are discovered? That happens when someone “thinks outside the box” or does something different.

Now this doesn’t include the important things like editing, cover design, formatting, grammar, spelling, punctuation, show vs. tell,  etc. Where the book comes from shouldn’t make a difference. The book is quality or it’s not. Period.

Politics and nitpicking have basically stated that all indie books suck and all traditional books are quality. There are indie books that are quality and traditional books that suck, so then where the book comes from is irrelevant. In the traditional sense there are times that a good book has a crappy paint job, and because people are visual, they get lost in the shuffle and die. I also hate that the author has no say in the destiny of the book after the sign the contract. It’s like not having any control over who adopts the child after signing it over to the authorities. Will the foster parents be good or bad? It sucks when things go bad and you can’t do anything about it until the contract ends.

Another thing that annoys me about the publishing industry is that the indie and traditional sections have not found common ground. This is the case in film, music, and art, but why not writing? Why? Here again—politics. I’m sure there was some resistance at first in the other industries, but they eventually did and both have benefited tremendously. Why is publishing so slow to go with the crowd? Why are the “trusts” resisting the inevitable and the Digital Age? By doing so, they are becoming irrelevant as the “hybrids” are rising and authors are saying enough is enough. Readers are looking for the fresh stuff they crave.

It’s going to be interesting to see how everything pans out, but it seems important for authors and readers to not pay much attention to and/or worry about the politics of the industry unless it keeps authors from writing and readers from reading and the pipeline between the two gets a blockage or a kink in it.

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Genre – NonFiction

Rating – G

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