A number of writers have been talking about self publishing and e-publishing of late, particularly as a way around some of the flaws of traditional publishing. This is often combined with a belief that traditional publishing is either on the way out or is going to have to radically change.
Perhaps. Some of these folk know a lot more about the field than me. However I have some concerns about looking at easy self publishing and e-publishing as a solution to the problems they see.
One of the problems with the “you too can publish” situation is that, as a reader, you too can read slush*. How does one sort out the simply literate (never mind “quality”) from the vast majority of stuff that crosses a typical first reader’s desk. (I worked as one for a while and let me tell you….)?
With epublishing still in its relative infancy the problem is perhaps small now but it will grow as more people “discover” it. How do we prevent the Kindle store (for instance) looking like my first reader inbox? How does the average reader sort out what they want to read from the deluge of slush.
It may be different for authors who already have published works in the double digits, who are “known” names with an established readership, but for a beginner who only has the words on the page/screen to differentiate him or her from the flood of others who have different arrangements of words on their pages/screens–some barely literate (if that), some entertaining reads, and a precious few that are “wow”?
No answers here, just questions.
*”Slush” is a term for unsolicited submissions sent to publishers and agents. Most editors of my acquaintance say that it is almost universally bad and a lot of time is spent trying to find the handful of publishable stories in the lot. This matches my own short experience as a slush reader.