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dxarmbar06
06-13-2011, 12:09 PM
I have an honest question regarding the publishing industry--or maybe more so regarding Borders and Barnes and Noble--why are most of the books I'm seeing on bookstore shelves complete rubbish?

I'm having trouble getting a straight answer and sometimes I think I'm the only one that notices, but a lot of crap seems to be turning up on best-seller lists. I really can't give an example of what I feel is a good novel because honestly I haven't read one in a good long while and it's getting a little depressing. My favorite book is Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. I guess I like literary stuff that's very well written, and a lot of stuff nowadays seems to be written for sixth graders. Every time I ask this question, someone jumps down my throat like "what are you talking about I LOVED that book." Ugh. I didn't.

It just seems like literature is experiencing a decline in, well, literature since the last decade. A lot of people seem to hate prose in books, which makes every book published seem like an overblown blog-post, at least to me, I really enjoy literary reticence.

I just want to know what's going on is all. Is it the economy, people watching too much television, competition with other media, are people just stupider? Why aren't hulking tomes of big words published anymore?

Or am I really the only one who notices?...

Guardian
06-13-2011, 12:17 PM
To be honest, when I tried reading Twilight I was surprised to find it was an easy read. My eyes just kept going... but it was like eating food with no nutritional value.

I don't care if an author uses big words or single syllable words. If there's something interesting there and being told well, I'll read it.

Yes, there's probably a decline in attention span. Everyone keeps insisting society is on the decline, so it must be -- ooh a shiny thing. Where was I?

Honestly I don't know HOW rubbish gets through. If you persist, you'll find a publisher who will take your book, I suppose. Maybe it is the agents/publishers who are getting the shorter attention span. "Great" books like Harry Potter took forever and a day to get published, and that series at least got huge amounts of kids really into reading. At least they can read, yeah? :P

shelleyo
06-13-2011, 12:47 PM
I have an honest question regarding the publishing industry--or maybe more so regarding Borders and Barnes and Noble--why are most of the books I'm seeing on bookstore shelves complete rubbish?

I just want to know what's going on is all. Is it the economy, people watching too much television, competition with other media, are people just stupider? Why aren't hulking tomes of big words published anymore?

Or am I really the only one who notices?...

This again? If you look around a little, you'll see this comes up pretty often.

The fact that you don't like something doesn't make it rubbish. You're defining it that way here, and also as anything popular, which it seems you also don't like.

There are many books being published today that aren't rubbish by any reasonable definition of the word. Perhaps you need to look harder or in a different part of the bookstore to find the stuff you enjoy.


Every time I ask this question, someone jumps down my throat like "what are you talking about I LOVED that book." Ugh. I didn't.


Which makes neither of you right or wrong; you simply have differing opinions. Lots of people probably hate your favorite books, too. Doesn't make them rubbish.

Your favorite book was written 140 years ago. No, you're not going to find matching prose on contemporary bookshelves, anywhere but the classics section. But you can find literary novels that come close to the pace and style as far as actual storytelling goes, I'm sure.

Shelley

Guardian
06-13-2011, 12:52 PM
It's true that one man's trash is another man's treasure. I consider a lot of children's books rubbish just because of the themes, but kids love reading them (and a lot of authors on here could beat me up :D ) If it's truly bad, it will eventually become unread. Or live on in infamy.

areteus
06-13-2011, 12:54 PM
Lowest common denominator... like tabloid newspapers, modern writing is more profitable if it appeals to a majority. Therefore, if more people can read it and understand it then more people will buy it to read it and so more money will be made.

So, the more basic you make a book the better for sales and since sales are something which publishers pay attention to and publishers are the ones who get to decide what goes on sale you can see the inevitable spiral there.

Often there are good stories out there but by and large the main deciding factor in many publishing decisions is not 'is this a good story?' but 'will this sell well?' and those two questions are not necessarily the same.

Celebrity books are easy money - even people who don't normally read will go out and buy a book supposedly written by a celeb (or their ghost writer) simply because it has their name on it. Most of them are absolute rubbish from a literary point of view. So there is a glut of them at the moment with celebrities who you would not normally consider capable of understanding the concept of a pen apparently knocking out 500 pages of 'autobiography' on a career that has spanned maybe 3 years.

My biggest gripe is Dan Brown. Now, I don't bemoan him his success, I am just baffled by it. His books were cliched and poorly plotted. Some nice ideas in there, true, but no different to anyone of a hundred manuscripts I have looked at in writing groups (and some were better).The occult conspiracy concepts were not even new, either. Umberto Eco (whose Foccault's Pendulum I recommend to anyone who has read Dan Brown and gone Ugh) did it first and better and with far more intelligence and black humour. He somehow managed to get through the publishing process and the only thing I can think of to explain it is 'lowest common denominator'.

Momento Mori
06-13-2011, 12:57 PM
What shelleyo said. Also, unless you've actually read absolutely everything currently being released, I don't see how you can label it as rubbish. It might not appeal to you, you might not appreciate it, but unless and until you've read something, it's a bit silly to slag it off.

MM

lastlittlebird
06-13-2011, 12:59 PM
You also have to remember that there was probably plenty of what you might consider "rubbish" back before you were around to notice it.

It's the same thing people always ask about the music industry... why is there so much bad popular music now? The answer is that there has always been a lot of bad popular music around... it just doesn't endure the way songs that are considered classics do.

You say ten years ago is when this trend started?
Probably the really decent books from ten years ago are all most people can remember now. They've forgotten all the stuff they considered to be rubbish.
The really excellent books are the only ones from back then that are getting new editions published too.
And really, there is so very very much to choose from now, including all the classics from yesteryear... I'm sure if you look around you'll find something to your taste.

scarletpeaches
06-13-2011, 01:36 PM
Threads like this inevitably descend into someone saying, "Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it's rubbish!"

My take? There are bad books out there. Yeah, yeah, everyone's allowed their own opinion...Well in that case I'm allowed to say "Book X is undeniably bad."

Given the rules - sorry, guidelines - of writing fiction, there are certain standards out there, otherwise...why even have guidelines?

If authors consistently break these rules and not from a position of power, if their characters are two-dimensional, if their plots are predictable, if their research is non-existent, then as a reader, I get to call them on it.

Why are bad books published? Search me. I suppose it's because what's in the slush pile is even worse.

Which makes me shudder.

Marian Perera
06-13-2011, 01:38 PM
My favorite book is Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. I guess I like literary stuff that's very well written, and a lot of stuff nowadays seems to be written for sixth graders.

Perhaps more sixth-graders are buying books than Victor Hugo fans are.

seun
06-13-2011, 01:40 PM
Why are most of the books I'm seeing on bookstore shelves complete rubbish?


Have you read those books?

scarletpeaches
06-13-2011, 01:45 PM
I nearly bought Les Mis yesterday.

Went for Spot Goes to the Circus instead.

seun
06-13-2011, 01:47 PM
I nearly bought Les Mis yesterday.

Went for Spot Goes to the Circus instead.

It wasn't as good as Spot Goes To The Beach.

shelleyo
06-13-2011, 01:49 PM
It wasn't as good as Spot Goes To The Beach.

Rubbish.

Now Spot Does Dallas, that was a good book.

Shelley

Torgo
06-13-2011, 01:53 PM
I just want to know what's going on is all. Is it the economy, people watching too much television, competition with other media, are people just stupider? Why aren't hulking tomes of big words published anymore?

Or am I really the only one who notices?...

David Foster Wallace is dead, alas.

Torgo
06-13-2011, 01:59 PM
My biggest gripe is Dan Brown. Now, I don't bemoan him his success, I am just baffled by it. His books were cliched and poorly plotted.

Cliched, poorly plotted, cardboard/Mary Sue characters, and rubbish prose. He's successful, though, because he's a good writer.

Momento Mori
06-13-2011, 02:00 PM
You know, I thought this question seemed familiar. You phrased almost exactly the same one last year:

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=212085

and were given many answers before the thread inevitably got locked.

There are other things to talk about on this site. I suggest you find one rather than rehashing old wank-bait.

MM

shaldna
06-13-2011, 02:04 PM
Rubbish.

Now Spot Does Dallas, that was a good book.




What about Spot goes to Rikers?

Guardian
06-13-2011, 02:09 PM
You know, I thought this question seemed familiar. You phrased almost exactly the same one last year:

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=212085

and were given many answers before the thread inevitably got locked.

There are other things to talk about on this site. I suggest you find one rather than rehashing old wank-bait.

MM


Good catch.

We could argue over what is rubbish and what isn't until we're blue in the face. Personally I just hope that MY rubbish gets published someday. :D

scarletpeaches
06-13-2011, 02:10 PM
Cliched, poorly plotted, cardboard/Mary Sue characters, and rubbish prose. He's successful, though, because he's a good writer.Don't those two sentences contradict each other?

Torgo
06-13-2011, 02:14 PM
Don't those two sentences contradict each other?

Nope! This is The Secret of Dan Brown.

shaldna
06-13-2011, 02:18 PM
Nope! This is The Secret of Dan Brown.


I always assumed the books were printed with ink laced with LSD

Torgo
06-13-2011, 02:23 PM
I always assumed the books were printed with ink laced with LSD

Well, that too.

Terie
06-13-2011, 02:28 PM
You know, I thought this question seemed familiar. You phrased almost exactly the same one last year:

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=212085

and were given many answers before the thread inevitably got locked.

There are other things to talk about on this site. I suggest you find one rather than rehashing old wank-bait.

MM

That wasn't a year ago; it was less than two months ago.

To the OP: is proclaiming books you don't like to be rubbish the only thing you're here for? Seems like a pretty lame way to stroke your own ego.

Shara
06-13-2011, 02:46 PM
I've asked a variation on this question many times. Agents and publishers always come back with an answer that's, essentially, this:

Publishers want books that will sell. The vast majority of people who buy books aren't writers, nor or they prolific readers. They buy a few books a year, by authors they've read before and really enjoy.

As a writer I tend to look at more than just a good story in a book - I'm looking at character development, grammatical structure, dialogue, punctuation, etc. So I might classify a book as 'bad' because it falls down in one of these areas. Someone else might read the same book and enjoy the story. So they think the book's really good.

So yes, I think it comes back to the point of one man's trash is another man's treasure. Ultimately I think I'm just jealous of all those published writers out there I class as bad writers, but who are making loads more money at writing than me... :)

Shara

kennyc
06-13-2011, 02:57 PM
You know, I thought this question seemed familiar. You phrased almost exactly the same one last year:

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=212085

and were given many answers before the thread inevitably got locked.

There are other things to talk about on this site. I suggest you find one rather than rehashing old wank-bait.

MM

Life is circular, then ya die.

Anninyn
06-13-2011, 03:04 PM
Tastes change. People like different things.

While it is possible to say- objectively- that certain books are bad, it is quite hard to do. I can't say that the books I dislike are objectively bad, because my dislike of them is getting in the way.

It's not to my taste=/= It's terrible.

And besides, terrible things have always been published. They just don;t stay in bookstores, or in the memory. I have a habit of picking up really bad old books from antiques fairs. My earliest 'bad book' was originally published in the early 1900's and was popular enough to be reprinted a few times- and IT'S TERRIBLE. Cardboard characters, purple prose, a story with no internal logic. I have no dount there were older ones, but that I just can't get hold of them.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-13-2011, 03:29 PM
So, you've become an AW member to introduce yourself, and gripe about the lack of quality of recent [fantasy] books.

Tell us about your books and how they will change the world.

gothicangel
06-13-2011, 04:11 PM
It just seems like literature is experiencing a decline in, well, literature since the last decade. A lot of people seem to hate prose in books, which makes every book published seem like an overblown blog-post, at least to me, I really enjoy literary reticence.

I just want to know what's going on is all. Is it the economy, people watching too much television, competition with other media, are people just stupider? Why aren't hulking tomes of big words published anymore?



Firstly, just because a book is 'hulking' and uses big words does not make good writing. Although your use of the word 'stupider' did make me spit coffee [oh, the irony . . . ]

If you believe that literature is in decline, I say that I believe you are not looking hard enough. My favourite book of 2010 was James Robertson's And The Land Lay Still [and I'm very excited, as I'm going to an author event tomorrow night held by Robertson.]

bearilou
06-13-2011, 04:27 PM
You know, I thought this question seemed familiar. You phrased almost exactly the same one last year:

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=212085

and were given many answers before the thread inevitably got locked.

There are other things to talk about on this site. I suggest you find one rather than rehashing old wank-bait.

MM

And yet people are still responding!

Goldenleaves
06-13-2011, 04:30 PM
To be honest, when I tried reading Twilight I was surprised to find it was an easy read. My eyes just kept going... but it was like eating food with no nutritional value.

I don't care if an author uses big words or single syllable words. If there's something interesting there and being told well, I'll read it.

Yes, there's probably a decline in attention span. Everyone keeps insisting society is on the decline, so it must be -- ooh a shiny thing. Where was I?

Honestly I don't know HOW rubbish gets through. If you persist, you'll find a publisher who will take your book, I suppose. Maybe it is the agents/publishers who are getting the shorter attention span. "Great" books like Harry Potter took forever and a day to get published, and that series at least got huge amounts of kids really into reading. At least they can read, yeah? :P

What shiny thing? Where? *looks around eagerly*

Goldenleaves
06-13-2011, 04:34 PM
There's always rubbish around. Always. I blame it on fashion.

When you get really really ancient like me you'll realise that the dross gets lost in the course of time, which is why people assume past generations had higher standards.

They didn't.

The question isn't why does it get published. It's how does it get published. And - I'm still thinking fashion.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-13-2011, 04:40 PM
Bestsellers in 1974:
http://www.super70s.com/Super70s/Culture/Books/1974/

AmsterdamAssassin
06-13-2011, 04:49 PM
Other historical bestseller lists [NYT bestseller #1 per year]:
1948

East Side, West Side by Marcia Davenport (Scribner's) - February 8, 1948
Eagle In the Sky by Van Wyck Mason (Lippincott) - March 7, 1948
The Ides of March by Thornton Wilder (Harper) - April 4, 1948
Raintree County by Ross Lockridge (Houghton Mifflin) - April 25, 1948
Pilgrim's Inn by Elizabeth Goudge (Coward-McCann) - May 23, 1948
The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer (Rinehart) - June 20, 1948
Shannon's Way by A. J. Cronin (Little, Brown) - September 5, 1948
The Young Lions by Irwin Shaw (Random House) - November 7, 1948
The Big Fisherman by Lloyd C. Douglas (Houghton Mifflin) - December 19, 1948



1950

The Parasites by Daphne du Maurier (Doubleday) - February 19, 1950 (http://www.hawes.com/1950/1950-02-19.pdf)
The Wall by John Hersey (Knopf) - March 26, 1950 (http://www.hawes.com/1950/1950-03-26.pdf)
The Cardinal by Henry Morton Robinson (Simon & Schuster) - April 30, 1950 (http://www.hawes.com/1950/1950-04-30.pdf)
Across the River and Into the Trees by Ernest Hemingway (Scribner's) - October 15, 1950 (http://www.hawes.com/1950/1950-10-15.pdf)
The Disenchanted by Budd Schulberg (Random House) - December 3, 1950 (http://www.hawes.com/1950/1950-12-03.pdf)

1951

Joy Street by Francis Parkinson Keyes (Messner) - January 14, 1951 (http://www.hawes.com/1951/1951-01-14.pdf)
From Here to Eternity by James Jones (Scribner's) - March 25, 1951 (http://www.hawes.com/1951/1951-03-25.pdf)
The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk (Doubleday) - August 12, 1951 (http://www.hawes.com/1951/1951-08-12.pdf)

1952

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier (Doubleday) - March 30, 1952 (http://www.hawes.com/1952/1952-03-30.pdf)
The Silver Chalice by Thomas Costain (Doubleday) - September 7, 1952 (http://www.hawes.com/1952/1952-09-07.pdf)
East of Eden by John Steinbeck (Viking) - November 2, 1952 (http://www.hawes.com/1952/1952-11-02.pdf)

1953

Désirée by Annemarie Selinko (Morrow) - March 8, 1953 (http://www.hawes.com/1953/1953-03-08.pdf)
Beyond This Place by A. J. Cronin (Little, Brown) - October 11, 1953 (http://www.hawes.com/1953/1953-10-11.pdf)
Lord Vanity by Samuel Shellabarger (Little, Brown) - November 29, 1953 (http://www.hawes.com/1953/1953-11-29.pdf)

1954

Not as a Stranger by Morton Thompson (Scribner's) - February 14, 1954 (http://www.hawes.com/1954/1954-02-14.pdf)
Mary Anne by Daphne du Maurier (Doubleday) - August 1, 1954 (http://www.hawes.com/1954/1954-08-01.pdf)
Love Is Eternal by Irving Stone (Doubleday) - October 17, 1954 (http://www.hawes.com/1954/1954-10-17.pdf)

Goldenleaves
06-13-2011, 04:50 PM
Hasn't the definition of bestseller changed since then? It's not physically possible that all the books on which I see 'bestseller' written are, in fact bestsellers.

Or maybe the definition of 'best' has changed?

I notice some months are missing (and there are books I don't like on those lists also).

Terie
06-13-2011, 04:50 PM
If you persist, you'll find a publisher who will take your book, I suppose.

Nope. A completely, utterly, unutterably bad book (which is 90% of what is submitted) will never be accepted by a legitimate publisher. Never. Ever.


"Great" books like Harry Potter took forever and a day to get published....

No. If it had taken forever and a day, we still wouldn't have it. ;) More to the point, Harry Potter was 'only' rejected by around 20 publishers. This isn't all that many in the grand scheme of things.

Many books that get picked up were rejected by the first couple of publishers. This can be for all kinds of perfectly good reasons. Publishers reject perfectly good publishable books every day because no publisher can publish every publishable book that is submitted to them. They have to pick and choose.

I believe that most publishable books will indeed eventually get picked up, but there will always be exceptions, a few that slip through the cracks. But the opposite isn't true: not all books written will get picked up just because the writer is persistent.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-13-2011, 05:05 PM
Hasn't the definition of bestseller changed since then? It's not physically possible that all the books on which I see 'bestseller' written are, in fact bestsellers.

Or maybe the definition of 'best' has changed?

I notice some months are missing (and there are books I don't like on those lists also).

you can check this link:

http://www.hawes.com/no1_f_d.htm

AmsterdamAssassin
06-13-2011, 05:10 PM
Everything seems better in hindsight, but I know there were a lot of bad books published in my youth as well.

If you look at classical music, you get the idea that there were many brilliant composers, but there were a lot of composers whose work just wasn't popular enough to remain popular after they died.

Same goes for books. Of course there are more books published nowadays, but there are a lot of books that sold well at the time, but are out of print nowadays. And mostly because nobody is interested in those books anymore.

quicklime
06-13-2011, 05:33 PM
4 posts in total

3 on how everything is crap

2 locked already


I smell a troll

shelleyo
06-13-2011, 05:42 PM
4 posts in total

3 on how everything is crap

2 locked already


I smell a troll

My guess is this'll be locked as soon as a mod comes along.

The only post that wasn't about how so many books are awful was the introduction post.

:deadhorse

Shelley

GFanthome
06-13-2011, 05:44 PM
I can't agree with you more. I don't know who's deciding that a lot of this crap is worthy of being published. I mean, you read the work of a lot of as-of-yet unpublished authors and you think to yourself, "Geez, why aren't THEY published yet?"

defyalllogic
06-13-2011, 05:53 PM
Can I just say, sometimes I know something is "crap" and that's why I love it. I want my horrible trashy reality TV, my clichéd Soaps. my scifi movie of the week, and my cheap-ass rainy day read romance/mystery novel.

I'm not always looking my enlightenment or the next big thing or whatever. Sometimes I just want to be entertained, even if that means a bit of a groan here and there. And I'm willing to pay what ends up being $10 a month for a couple books I can breeze through and even laugh at a bit because they don't take it too seriously.

The academic attitude of convention and literature and cinematography and and blah blah blah can go kick rocks. I've been at work all day, I'm on a lil mental break and don't need to think about why all the characters in Salem talk about their schemes out loud to themselves, or why all these teens are barley dressed on a camping trip in the Adirondacks, or why what's-his-face does so much brooding instead of pacing and head scratching too. Because it's sexy. done. because that's how he thinks. done. Because whats-her-face like to watch him do it. done,

So as a "crap" consumer, I can say, it sells because I buy it.

Anninyn
06-13-2011, 05:55 PM
Can I just say, sometimes I know something is "crap" and that's why I love it. I want my horrible trashy reality TV, my clichéd Soaps. my scifi movie of the week, and my cheap-ass rainy day read romance/mystery novel.

I'm not always looking my enlightenment or the next big thing or whatever. Sometimes I just want to be entertained, even if that mean a bit f a groan her and there. and I'm willing to pay what ends up being $10 a month for a couple books i can breezy through and even laugh at a bit because they don't take it too seriously.

So as a "crap" consumer, I can say, it sells because I buy it.
God yeah, I love a bit of 'crap' now and again. Everything has it's place, and sometimes you just want a bit of mindless entertainment that keeps the brain occupied for a few hours. I love fiction that's difficult, and challenging, and brilliant, fiction that makes me think and grow as a person- about 10 percent of the time. The rest of the time I just want an enjoyable book. Of course, saying 'crap' here, I'm not using it the sense of something that's bad. I read very widely, and I have to say that out of several thousand books I've only read 10 that were actually BAD. And two of those were deliberately awful, so that doesn't count.

Not everything has to be full of life changing revelations and discussions of the nature of human existance, after all. That gets quite dull.

brainstorm77
06-13-2011, 05:56 PM
What's rubbish to one is another person's best book.

scarletpeaches
06-13-2011, 05:58 PM
I can't think of any day at work that had me wrung out enough to make me want to read crap.

Goldenleaves
06-13-2011, 05:59 PM
You've made a very good point there. Thanks for that. Someone just handed me a pile of books that to me are a waste of space but to a friend of mine will keep her happy for weeks. Likewise, she wouldn't dream of picking up my favourite reads as they'd bore her to tears.

No publishing house wants to lose money, so we have to assume it all has its audience.

Must be something I'm missing.

And - where's that shiny thing?

Anninyn
06-13-2011, 06:04 PM
Y

And - where's that shiny thing?

It's over here. No, wait- it's over there!

crunchyblanket
06-13-2011, 06:32 PM
Rubbish.

Now Spot Does Dallas, that was a good book.

Shelley

It can't beat the glorious bittersweetness of Spot Goes To Rehab.

areteus
06-13-2011, 08:25 PM
Definitions of 'rubbish' do differ a lot... though I get the impression that the OP (who I note has not come back to this thread yet... or have I missed it...) is referring to books with literary merit. So, no one is writing Hamlet any more or the works of Charles Dickens...

And yes, I mention those two specifically because, despite being considered classics now and pretty much compulsory in schools, both Dickens and Shakespeare were not considered geniuses so much in thier time. While both gained some level of fame and recognition in thier lifetime, much of thier fame did not come until much later. Most of Shakespeare's plays (the exceptions being the great tragedies) were whimisical comedies to entertain the commoners while Dicken's work was first published in Penny Dreadfuls which were considered the lowest form of literature akin to the Daily Sport or the Weekly World News - again, entertainment for the lowest common denominator. If either were alive today and doing a comparable job, I reckon Shakespeare would be on the writing staff for a Hollywood soap opera or similar TV series while he saved up the money to independently produce the great script he has for an arthouse film about some Danish Prince which so far every production company has turned down as 'too arthouse' while Dickens would be submitting short stories and chapters of serials to e-zines while writing a blog about his search for fairies...

So, it is entirely possible that in the future the works we consider mainstream and commercial will actually be seen as future classics which millions of schoolkids will be forced to read in order to qualify in English (or, Inglizh or textspeak or American whatever they change the name of the language too... :) ).

As for the OP being a troll... meh, probably. However, trolls can be entertaining... so long as you don't let them off the chain...

AlwaysJuly
06-13-2011, 09:01 PM
Personally I draw a distinction between "rubbish" writing - purely bad writing - and "entertainment". But that's probably largely an issue of semantics.

No idea what a thick tome or big words have to do with quality lit, though. There are classic works of literature with Established Merit that are quite slender and/or simple to read.

gothicangel
06-13-2011, 09:06 PM
4 posts in total

3 on how everything is crap

2 locked already


I smell a troll

Not necessarily, sour grapes - potentially.

When I was subbing my first book, I did a cringeworthy thing. I wrote a letter into a writers magazine in the UK that basically went along the line of "how do I get rejections, when this crap is published; wah!!!" If I'm correct my target was chick-lit.

100% sour grapes. 100% cringeworthy. The truth is that the book was unpublishable. I think there is an element of this in the OP's posts.

kaitie
06-13-2011, 09:21 PM
You'll hate my books.

Libbie
06-13-2011, 09:25 PM
Point The First: Publishing is an industry. It exists in its present form to make money, not to preserve great works of literary art. The discovery and preservation of great works of literary art are happy accidents long the road of making money. So rubbish gets published because it will make money for the publishers.

Point The Second: Lots and lots of people would rather read fluffy cotton-candy woo-woo than Victor Hugo. Sad but true. These people vote with their dollars, and what they buy influences what publishers will buy. Numerically vast numbers of buyers are willing to put down money for unchallenging fluff, and that's how that stuff ends up on the bestseller lists. It has to be simplistic and light enough for lots and lots of people to feel it's accessible. You and I may be entertained by deep themes and difficult emotional explorations, but more people are entertained by a spring-loaded wooden dog who eternally lands a nickel on its nose. (http://achewood.com/index.php?date=08252003)

Point The Third: "Rubbish" is in the eye of the beholder. All those Twilight fans think Twilight is the best thing since sliced bread, and most of them can't figure out why you'd rather read Victor Hugo than Stephenie Meyer.

The harsh realities of the publishing industry.

Of course, that doesn't mean anybody should stop trying to write great works with literary merit. You can expect that they'll be published if you get good at it. You can probably reasonably expect that one day you'll be able to quit your day job, if you really work hard and take the time to do everything right. You should never expect that you'll make as much money as the most popular writers of the stuff you dislike. You MIGHT, but you shouldn't expect it. It's not likely to happen.

Personally, I think if you're really into writing what you and I would call non-rubbish, "make the bestseller lists" isn't a realistic goal. It's most likely not in line with the kind of writing you do. However, a more realistic goal for people like us might be "win some good awards" or "get some good reviews from major literary critics." Manage your expectations, and the industry will make more sense to you.

RemusShepherd
06-13-2011, 09:28 PM
I'm having trouble getting a straight answer and sometimes I think I'm the only one that notices, but a lot of crap seems to be turning up on best-seller lists.

If it ends up on the best-seller list, there's no mystery about why it was published. It made money. Editors do not make a decision about whether stories are good or not; their job is to decide whether or not a story will make money. If it is likely to make money, it will be published, good or bad.

The problem you're having, in my opinion, is the word 'good'. It's a word with no agreed-upon definition. For some people, anything that makes money is 'good'. For others a story is 'good' if it appeals to a large audience (this is usually synonymous with the ability to make money.) For others 'good' means appeal to a small but hardcore fan base. For yet others, 'good' means adherence to some nebulous standard of literary quality.

It's fair to say that the best-sellers out there are not appealing to *you*. I don't know if it's alright to claim that the best-sellers aren't 'good'. If it helps any, I'm in the same position you are; I can't find a lot that I like in the books being published today.

So the question becomes, "Why aren't books that we like being published?" It could be that nobody is writing them, in which case your course of action should become clear. :)

Guardian
06-13-2011, 09:30 PM
Nope. A completely, utterly, unutterably bad book (which is 90% of what is submitted) will never be accepted by a legitimate publisher. Never. Ever.



No. If it had taken forever and a day, we still wouldn't have it. ;) More to the point, Harry Potter was 'only' rejected by around 20 publishers. This isn't all that many in the grand scheme of things.

Many books that get picked up were rejected by the first couple of publishers. This can be for all kinds of perfectly good reasons. Publishers reject perfectly good publishable books every day because no publisher can publish every publishable book that is submitted to them. They have to pick and choose.

I believe that most publishable books will indeed eventually get picked up, but there will always be exceptions, a few that slip through the cracks. But the opposite isn't true: not all books written will get picked up just because the writer is persistent.


*cough* Publish America, and other vanities vainly pretending not to be. I didn't say it had to be a legit publisher, just that *someone* will eventually help them get that book into print.

ETA: you're right about JKR, of course. 20 must seem like a big number to me. Now 30 is astronomical!

Medievalist
06-13-2011, 09:31 PM
Better question:

Why do we create hostile, dismissive threads?

mscelina
06-13-2011, 09:31 PM
This is what I said last year to this poster's SF/F thread:



My guess would be that you aren't really looking all that hard. *shrug* It's a lot easier to dismiss all fantasy as *rubbish* than it is to actually look for something new and different.


This is my response this year:

My guess would be that you aren't really looking all that hard. *shrug* It's a lot easier to dismiss all published books as *rubbish* than it is to actually look for something new and different.

There. still works.

mscelina
06-13-2011, 09:31 PM
Better question:

Why do we create hostile, dismissive threads?

Because it's easier to condemn the industry for not recognizing your brilliance than to actually do the work and improve?

Goldenleaves
06-13-2011, 09:36 PM
*happily chases shiny thing*

What? Oh - absolutely. Look - shiny thing!

Libbie
06-13-2011, 09:39 PM
Because it's easier to condemn the industry for not recognizing your brilliance than to actually do the work and improve?

Or because there's always an assumption among newbs that NYT Bestseller is the penultimate mark of quality in this industry. It's not. It's the penultimate mark of quality if you write the kind of thing that usually ends up on the NYT Bestseller List, but the industry is much, much more inclusive than that.

Guardian
06-13-2011, 09:42 PM
Because it's easier to condemn the industry for not recognizing your brilliance than to actually do the work and improve?

But my epic fiction novel about Rainbow Silver Gwenyth Melody is perfect! If they don't love her natural silver hair and her rainbow color-changing diamond eyes then they are stupid I tell ya! Her love with a vampire-werewolf-ghost-billionaire hybrid is a deep symbology about the justice system in America!

These Mean Streets
06-13-2011, 09:45 PM
I can sympathize with the OP's post. I too can't understand why the bookstores aren't filled only with the books that I like.

Goldenleaves
06-13-2011, 09:47 PM
But my epic fiction novel about Rainbow Silver Gwenyth Melody is perfect! If they don't love her natural silver hair and her rainbow color-changing diamond eyes then they are stupid

Soooo right. (dreamy eyed sigh)


Her love with a vampire-werewolf-ghost-billionaire hybrid

Romance? What? Noooooo *runs away gagging*

Soccer Mom
06-13-2011, 09:47 PM
Better question:

Why do we create hostile, dismissive threads?

Because we're trolling, that's why. The OP can go troll elsewhere.

James D. Macdonald
06-14-2011, 06:13 AM
I just want to know what's going on is all. Is it the economy, people watching too much television, competition with other media, are people just stupider?


Proportionately, there was just as much trash published the year Les Miserables was new as this year. Nothing has changed.