Here’s the Thing: I Just Want to Read Some Great F—ing Stories

This past Thursday, I had a rough night. I was emotional for various reasons, snapped at The Man who was being nothing but sweet, and decided early on that I was going to forgo the evening intrawebz activities in favor of reading and early bedtime.

It turned out to be a good move as it was the same night that a geo-glitch on Amazon caused the Buy buttons to disappear on many of the pages for Big 5 books. Panic ensued. People declared that Amazon was out to sabotage the legacy publishers once and for all. The usual Twitter insanity.

I’m glad I missed it. After such a contentious week with all of the hate between the Republicans and Democrats, I really didn’t need more us vs. them negativity. And from what I’ve been told, the bad mouthing didn’t end with Amazon – it turned against self-published authors as well.

Which…really, guys? Really?

Look, 2012 is a very different kind of publishing world. There are options. A lot of options. More than my brain can handle sometimes – I mean, it’s kind of awesome. There’s traditional, indie, small press, self (sometimes known as “indie” in which case it’s also known as “don’t you dare call it indie OMG”).

Point is, there is no one way for novels to come into the world anymore, and I have zero problems with this. As long as you pour out a great story, work with professionals to polish it to a high-fucking-shine, and put out a quality product, I couldn’t give two shits.

Basically?

I don’t want to hear the self-pub vs. trad-pub argument anymore. I’m sick of it. Sick to tears. Sick like this:

I’m sick of the corner of self-publishing that gets their hackles up at anything related to the traditional houses because trads are the Big Bads trying to keep everyone down, and if you don’t storm the Bastille and join la Revolucion, then you’re just not doing it right.

I’m sick of the corner of traditional publishing that looks down their nose at anyone who chooses to produce their book themselves because they assume that it must not be very good, the poor dears, to have to resort to such measures because if you’re not being published by a properly vetted publishing house, then you’re just not doing it right.

You know what? Knock it off. Everyone, just knock it off. Quit trashing the other side’s sandbox. There’s no need for it! You have your own! In fact, everyone can have their own, painted in their favorite colors – isn’t that awesome? Let’s be excited about that instead of niggling at that guy over there for putting sea green and orange flowers on his.

I really don’t get why there has to be this controversy. I mean, I get why there’s controversy between, like, Amazon and the Big 5. Sure, I get that. Business competition, etc. It’s when it trickles down to the authors that it really bothers me. It’s when you see traditional or self-published authors disparaging the other side, undermining how the other side conducts their publishing business, that I get angry and sad. Haven’t we said over and over again that authors aren’t in competition with each other? That writing isn’t a zero sum game and the goal is just to get people to read books? Why, then, should that be any different when we’re talking about traditional vs. self?

It shouldn’t.

So here’s me, standing up on my soapbox, laying down some hot truth for ya’ll:

I don’t care how you put your book out into the world. I just want to read some great fucking stories.

Three of the best books I’ve read in the past few months were produced and published by the authors. And in between those have been some gag-worthy ones put out by prime, Big 5 houses with all the stops pulled out. And you can reverse those statements, too. Some terrible self-pubbed novels have hit my Kindle, followed by some brilliant traditional books.

It doesn’t matter to me. I don’t care if there’s a Random Penguin emblem on the spine or not. I want the contents to be awesome, and that is fucking it. That is all I require.

That’s all that matters.

Let’s not do this. Let’s not encourage this division. Let’s diffuse it. Let’s support one another no matter which path a writer chooses.

And let’s just write some great fucking stories.

22 thoughts on “Here’s the Thing: I Just Want to Read Some Great F—ing Stories

  1. A-Effing-MEN! The only problem I really have with self/small pubs? Is finding good ones to read. There’s not really a reliable review system that I’ve found to introduce me to great ones and keep me away from the horrible ones. The best sellers aren’t always great books, or even well proofed. The only way I’ve found great self-pubs is through friends recommendations (And so far, that’s exactly ONE author, who now will be an autobuy for me. Not even all my friends recommendations turn out to be good, but they get a lot closer than randomly browsing does). For self-pub to get really mass accepted, there needs to be some centralized place that can act as a filter. There’s just too many otherwise, the signal gets lost in the noise.

    What I’d love? Something that tells me 1.How well proofread a book is (That turns me off more self-pubs than anything else) 2. SPECIFIC keyword filters, with multiple options (so if I’m looking for a book about androids, I can find one with androids. If I’m looking for one without vampires, I want to find ones without vampires. If I want one with androids and vampires, etc..;) and 3. If it’s part of a series, of how many books, and if all of them are published/expected time frame for the rest of the series. There are moods where I just want a quick, standalone book, and it’s SO hard to find those.

    1. You make SO many good points here. I don’t think the problem is necessarily how people pub – it’s that we’ve had this ebook explosion but no good innovations in how to BROWSE and FIND ebooks. Someone needs to create a website that more fully vets ebook quality and mimics browsing in a bookstore. I think it’ll happen, but it hasn’t been created yet.

      1. Exactly! I’m rather tempted to do it, but I need to learn a bit more coding before I’m really comfortable attempting it. (It’s part of the reason I’m working on learning python and brushing up on HTML5, actually.) If I ever figure out how to do this, you’re so on the team for it, right? XD

  2. Fuck yeah! WOM is still the best way to find good books – whether trad, self pubbed, or manuscripts that are trying to find an agent. There’s no need to take a streaming, self righteous dump on the other person’s journey to make yourself feel better.

    ❀

    1. I think it’s funny you and Angi both had a similar theme to your comments. πŸ˜€

      ❀ you. All the support for this post makes me feel better about the industry.

    1. Oh, I’m sure I’ll have PLENTY. I almost always have a rant or two in me. πŸ™‚

      Funny thing: I used to edit out my profanity and then realized nothing sounded like me.

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