Independent author Rob Guthrie touched off a huge heated debate a little while ago on his blog, suggesting that Amazon charge a fee for publishing online, then fired the passions of primarily Indie authors again with two subsequent posts, Does Everyone Have a Novel in Them? and Does Talent Exist?
I’ve been reading his posts and those of others, either in agreement or with opposing viewpoints. There were many good points in both Rob's original posts and the comments and fallout. I’m sincere in my desire to be respectful of everyone’s thoughts on the subject of whether or not untalented (or perhaps unskilled at present) writers should be allowed to publish their books, and charge the public money to read them, because I know they are heartfelt.
However, in all the hashing and rehashing of the subject, one very simple fact seems to have been lost. There have always been crappy books published, way before online publishing was even a germinating thought, and lots of money made on them. I can go to a used book sale and pull them off the shelves by the hundreds. Yet, someone originally bought the wretched things and they appear to have been read.
The same is true of movies (case in point John Carter), paintings, plays, and then lots of everyday products we all consume regularly. For instance, nearly all the fast food factories (restaurants, technically) we are surrounded by offer less than acceptable fare to a gourmand. Still, even the regulatory agencies, like the FDA, are only charged with making sure what we consume won’t harm us, not that it’s good for us.
I'm not a free market freak but this country generally speaking supports it and why should that not extend to online books? If someone wants to buy a book that others consider poorly written, who are we to impede their desire? We don’t try to put a stop to erotica, or porn, and those areas are certainly "quality writing" challenged.
Simply put, I don’t think there should be either a judging system put in place nor a tariff (publishing fee) imposed to stop the “bad writing” from hitting the marketplace, because it would be, in effect, censorship.
One more quick thought; I believe the reason this has been such an ardently followed subject is that it hits a little too close to home. Most of us, Indie authors, have struggled for years to get published, and in that cause have had to believe in ourselves against all odds. Now, to be told we may not be good enough again, well…
(Published on Red Mojo Mama Musings as well)