Well, I've now owned an ebook reader for about three months. My first impression of the ebook phenomenon was that it was horrible and I wanted nothing at all to do with it. However, after a fair amount of my own sales were generated by ebooks I began to have to take a different look at it. Selfish reason, that, but there you are.
In addition, everyone I know had bought some type of ebook reader and each of them raved about how great it was to have such a thing. Personally, I was horrified and I remained horrified over this new development for a long time. Finally, though, I caved and when Carole asked me what I wanted for Christmas I told her to buy me a Kindle Fire ereader.
And that is what I got.
At first I didn't care for it. It was just the idea of reading on a video screen that bothered me. I have never minded reading science texts or news on my various computer screens, but I couldn't bear to sit in front of any kind of video screen for long periods of time reading fiction or book length non-fiction. Why? Hell if I know! I just didn't care for it!
However...after a couple of weeks of downloading novels and reading them, I finally got used to the format. Now, I rather like it. I still prefer real books, but at least I can dig reading fiction on my Kindle. It's okay.
Another reason I decided to go the route of reading ebooks is that a lot of the writers I know rave about how it changed their writing careers. A number of these folk decided never again to submit their work to publishers and to henceforth just publish their own books and reap the rewards themselves. Most of them went to Amazon.com where they could self-publish and share a bit with the Seattle firm but take the lion's share for themselves. Online, I met quite a few writers who are actually making a decent middle-working-class living publishing their own novels. They one and all kept telling me to do the same.
So I figured what have I got to lose? I'd take the plunge and give it a shot with one of my unsold novels and see what would happen. I had a novel (HISSMELINA) that had been a near-sell at several large publishing houses over the years, but had never quite made it all the way to print, and so I decided to use that book as my test case.
However, one thing that I failed to do before making this decision was to read the books that these self-published authors were selling so well. I wish to Jove I had at least done that much. It was only after committing myself to self-publish a novel that I bothered to see what these ladies and gentlemen were selling so well on Amazon. So I bought some of these books and read them.
Well, that's not quite the truth.
I didn't actually read them.
I tried to read them. However, in every single case--without exception--these self-published novels were so horrid that I could not read more than a few chapters. They are awful. Every one of them. The self-published market at Amazon and Smashwords and the rest are crap. Shit. Dreck. Puke. Vomit. Garbage. Sewage...
And I put myself in with that crowd. I inadvertently identified myself with these jackasses and shysters. These were, are, and always will be folk who don't know how to write. They never submitted work that was able to muster editorial critique, and their work never will pass such muster. The stuff sucks, and it floods the ebook markets like a tsunami of trash.
I'd like to point out some of these lousy writers and embarrass them, but I doubt it would do any good. Sadly, they sell enough of their word-garbage that they make money at it. They're beyond being able to be embarrassed. They've talked enough pals and acquaintances into leaving five-star reviews for their drivel so that customers looking for material to read fall for the trick. In quite a few cases they have generated a kind of pyramid scheme that keeps rolling along, like a giant new Amway business model. You grease me and I'll grease you. The guy with the most moist hands in his crotch wins.
I learned my lesson, though. No more self-publishing for me. Yeah, a few guys lucked out that way--John Grisham and Pat Conroy and James Redfield beat the odds. But the flood of idiots who are self-publishing utter crap is...well, it's a sick and twisted situation.
I hope very soon to see it collapse. I fear it will keep on, but nothing would please me more than seeing it come to a quick end. And a painful one for all of those self-published manufacturers of literary turds.