So, I’ll start by saying that I see the arrival of the Digital Self-publishing Revolution as largely a good thing. It’s more confusing than the old world – now instead of a comparatively straight-forward process of submitting to agents and editors and hoping for the best while expecting the worst, you’ve got a thousand different possible levers you can try and pull. (Some of them you can’t actually reach. Some of them don’t actually do anything when you pull them. Some of them have an effect, but it’s hard to figure out what that effect is.)
But, largely, it’s a good thing because it gives writers and readers both new options that they didn’t have before.
Still, I’m put off by the revolution’s cheerleaders who shout hurrahs: “The Revolution has come! Publishing is disintermediating! The Traditional Publishers are dying, and good riddance for they were made of EVIL and soon it will be complete freedom for writers and readers and puppies and kitties will rain from the skies forever! Amen! P.S. And we’re all going to get so rich by writing!”
That’s hyperbole. But the basic message is the same. If you move in writing circles, you can’t help but read one or two such blog posts on various blogs per week. And that’s if you don’t actively follow Joe Konrath or Dean Wesley Smith or others like them. But their message puts me off, not only because I think it’s an unrealistic vision of the future, but because something about this vision seems a little off to me.
In the past few weeks, I’ve come to understand a little better why I’m vaguely uncomfortable and unsettled about the digital self-publishing revolution. There is something dark, something unspoken, something critically unexamined staining the underbelly of the Digital Self-publishing Revolution. I don’t think these are things talked about enough, yet. Continue reading