I was talking to my muse the other day about electronic publishing. A few minutes ago I ran across a blog on the same topic from Shauna Kelley and she made some good points, but one of her statements caught my attention. "I think that the pervasiveness of the 99 cent pricing model for self-published Kindle eBooks may be devaluing what we do."
When I spoke to my muse about this, we had a discussion about the beginning of the novel. When the printing press became widespread and suddenly everyone could own a book, by the same token everyone wanted to publish a book. Does the phrase "by a Lady of Quality" sound familiar?
Suddenly, there was a glut of books. Thousands of books were published, the majority self-published by our definition, and most of them sold only a few copies if they were sold at all.
Sound familiar? We're in exactly the same situation with electronic publishing. Something has changed which made it possible for anyone to be an author. Just as happened hundreds of years ago, there is a glut of low quality work being shoved into the marketplace, devaluing those who are actually willing to work and edit before they take their share of the market.
A novel needs a coherent plot, it needs to be grammatical (in the language of its target audience), it needs to have likeable characters. In essence, the author needs to actually think about it rather than just slapping it on paper and then shoving it into electronic media.
Honestly, what's the point? Do I want to be read? Or do I just want to be able to tell my family that I'm a published author? If the goal is just to have the title of publication, go ahead and shove trash out there. I won't read it.
If we want to be read, we must take the time to provide a good product. Otherwise you might as well shove it in a museum for the first books off the printing press.
"By a Lady of Quality, Who Wants to Share with the World, A Gift."