Being an Amazon author myself–I have a deal to put my books out in print through CreateSpace without cost because of having finished in the quarterfinals of their last contest, and I’m putting them on the Kindle, as well–I had to chuckle at the cleverness Amazon is being credited with in this article. I also suspect the claims made are correct, at least in general.
“When you see Snooki’s book on the New York Times Best Seller List, you know publishing is in trouble.
“You can blame readers and say publishing is just giving the public what they want. But [if true!] that’s only half the problem. The rest is a lazy publishing industry that does far too little of the work that got them here: Discovering new authors and giving them a shot. Instead, they go for the lazy lay-up: Overpaying on celebrity memoirs and pop culture phenomenons with a built-in audience.
“But that was a short term mistake that has put the publishing industry behind the eight ball. And, according to this industry insider who asked not to be named, a familiar bully is about to take them out.”
P. J. Thompson (lj-user=pjthompson) writes:
“You know that thing where you’ve edited a book so [heavily] you’ve cut all the life out of it?”
Yes! It’s something that I’ve preached against over and over, but I’ve been shouted down by agents and critique partners who say that every word has to further the action of the MAIN PLOT of the story, not just show character or develop a subplot or any other valid artistic reason. I know that I can be wordy and digressive, but if you cut out everything that some people would like to cut out of my work, you wouldn’t have anything left but margins. Surely a reader wants to proceed at a reading pace, not at the breakneck pace of a rap lyric.
She goes on: “Throughout the reading [of a friend’s edited novel], it felt incomplete to me, missing beats, wanting something that kept slipping through the fingers–cut to the bone and unable to quite articulate itself as those bones clattered along. A large part of the life had been taken away. I intuited that it had once been there, but no more.”
I see this happen all the time when writers go to workshops and get the skinny on The One True Way You Are Supposed to Do This. The resulting work is either in the no-style style or is in standard workshop style. Whatever unusual turns of phrase the critters ran across have been turned into roadkill, and any quirky stuff has been completely rubbed out.
The charm that the work originally had is gone along with the errors and problems that they’ve fixed.
* * *
A whale swims all day, only eats fish, drinks water and is fat.
A tortoise doesn’t run, does nothing . . . yet lives for 450 years.
But a tortoise IS pretty wrinkled, so perhaps there is some justice.