GABBLER RECOMMENDS: Traditional publication: The new vanity press?

All those traditional publishing complaints about the self-publishing/online writing slushpile rather get thrown into perspective by this development. If Lanzendorfer is correct, hopeful online writers haven’t made one bit of difference to the practices of literary journals. The MFA industry has. Time and again, writers and others involved in the book world have complained about it. And here’s one evidence of it doing actual harm and penalizing poorer writers.

There is a massive problem of felt entitlement around MFA programs, as has been chronicled at length. The problem is clearly not being helped by the fact that there’s an alternative path to writing success that MFA participants are apparently ignoring. Yes, jump into the online writing/self-publishing slush pond. You may be drowning in a pool of talentless peers, and struggling to get your head above the general level, but know what? Looks like exactly the same will apply in MFA programs these days. So much so that literary journals are effectively putting up paywalls to make you stay away. At least the internet doesn’t do that.

But it doesn’t confer an obvious qualification and other snob value brownie points either. An MFA does. Publication in an accredited literary journal, of course, also confers snob value. And this is snob value you pay for. Why wouldn’t you? It carries the Jonathan Franzen Seal of Approval.

Chris Meadows ran a couple of insightful pieces on how The Martian went from self-published surprise hit to Ridley Scott movie script. And the problem of snobbery that still lingers despite such breakout successes. The hidden, prejudiced assumption he cites there is that “self-publishing was vanity publishing.” Well, despite the work of Penguin Random House and Author Solutions, it now looks as though the equation has been turned on its head.

Snob writers from snob backgrounds are now paying snob fees for snob credentials and the snob kudos of proper publication in real literary journals. Not for them the sordid smut of a Fifty Shades-style popular success. They aspire to higher things, with real publication, on paper. After all, that’s what they paid for.

Read the rest on TeleRead.

See also: Why literature is no longer art. 

[“BLA and GB Gabbler” (really just a pen name – singular) are the Editor and Narrator behind THE AUTOMATION, vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series. They are on facebook, twitter, tumblr, goodreads, and Vulcan’s shit list.]

all yellowB&N | Amazon | Etc.

Why Zoella’s book being written by a ghostwriter matters:

Girl OfLies: The First Novel NOT by Zoella

I do not watch Zoella’s YouTube videos, though I had heard her name tossed around before the news broke that her recent book was written by a ghostwriter.

She apparently was breaking some record with this book and people were comparing her sales to J.K. Rowling’s (which is like comparing the Mona Lisa to a spiral notebook doodle, but that’s beside the point). The point being, she is not J.K. Rowling. Her “medium” was barely similar. And this just further highlights the issues within the publishing industry/Big 6.

Here’s why Zoella’s book being ghostwritten matters:

1) It matters because it is a lie. You put your name on something, that should mean you made it. Maybe just endorse a book next time if you aren’t going to be the one who wrote it.

2) It means the publisher didn’t have faith in Zoella’s abilities as a writer. And, since it is clear they didn’t, then why did they offer her a book deal? Doesn’t this show that big publishers are more interested in buying brand names than artists?

3) It means that Zoella didn’t care enough about her fans to actually create something for them.
Granted, she’s probably a busy woman. Making all those videos. Then again, maybe she should just stick to making videos. That seems to be what she’s good at. That, and taking our money.

 

-BLA

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 [“BLA and GB Gabbler” (really just a pen name) are the Editor and Narrator behind THE AUTOMATION, vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series. They are on facebook, twitter, tumblr, and goodreads.]

Author Solutions Steps Up Global Expansion, Penguin Random House Integration

‘There is much heated debate about Amazon’s disruption of bookselling and publishing. What is spoken about a lot less is how Amazon (through KDP and CreateSpace) has disrupted the scammy vanity press industry…’

David Gaughran

PRHGrupoASIPenguin Random House is speeding up the international expansion of its vanity press operations, while also seeking to integrate them more closely with the traditional side of the business – hoping to counteract flat growth for Author Solutions at a time when self-publishing is booming.

Author Solutions launches a new self-publishing service company for the Spanish market next Tuesday – MeGustaEscribir – which contains the usual mix of crappy publishing packages and ineffective, overpriced marketing services, as well as some extremely questionable practices such as reading fees (more on that below).

The way the Author Solutions scam typically operates is detailed exhaustively in this post, but here’s a brief summary.

How Author Solutions Squeezes Newbie Writers

Customers are captured through a variety of deceptive means – such as fake “independent” websites which purport to review all the self-publishing options available to writers (but only compare the various Author Solutions…

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