Sunday, March 20, 2016

I Give Up!

One thing that I long ago noticed about ebooks in general and self-published ebooks in particular is that they have a very, very, very short shelf life. Generally the ones that make a little money do so for just a few weeks to a few months. Then they are completely forgotten and stop selling.

Some of my friends who got into the self-publishing game claim to have made money at it. (Very few of them--a couple.) I've met a few self-publishers who made what I would call a killing at it. They sold enough copies of their books that they were able to quit their day-jobs and create self-published content full time. Of course most of those people later came to regret that decision as it was a short-lived phenomena. I've spoken to more than a few such who found themselves unable to pay their bills after a few months when those impressive sales dwindled to nothing and could not be rekindled. Lightning rarely strikes twice, they say.

But one guy I met (I refuse to call him a "writer" because he can't write) continued to do well at it for some time. He was able (somehow) to build a clientele of people who kept going back to his poisoned well to dip into his shit volcano for a continuing serving of his extrusions. Why? I have no idea as I would never develop a taste for such. But there are all kinds of people out there, some of whom will pay a self-publisher $3 or $4 every so often to read crap that would never make it beyond a slush pile in the old days.

In addition, I'm convinced that Amazon artificially creates some of these "success" stories just to fuel the fires of the self-publishing scam. Where would a pyramid scheme end up without a few people making money at it? You have to show someone making a few shekels or else you can't generate a steady stream of suckers.

Today, for instance, I got an ad in my email box from Amazon suggesting a new science fiction novel. I looked at the graphic. It looked to be the cover of a very crappy self-published ebook. But I was curious--not even Amazon would promote the kind of shit that I see in the world of self-publishing...would they?

I clicked on the ad. It took me to the book's spot on Amazon. I'd never heard of the author. The cover was pretty awful. Military sf. I then decided to at least "look inside". I read a couple of paragraphs...

Oh. My. God.

Indeed, Amazon had sent me an email promoting a self-published  pile of shit. As with every self-published novel I have ever tried to read, this one was a stinker. It smelled. The stench was overwhelming. If I needed any more proof that Amazon feels bound to promote crap for the sake of furthering the destructive scam we know as self-publishing, this was it: all the proof I needed.

For the love of English literature, cut it the fuck out. 

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