Sunday, May 27, 2012

'Literary karaoke?' I'm not entirely sure I understand - and I'm not sure it matters

So I've had a few friends e-mailing me that Huffington Post article - you know, the one about indie publishing with the now-infamous phrase "literary karaoke."

Yeah, it puzzled me, too, for a bit. But that's apparently the term that some as-yet-named traditionally published author gave to indie publishing. I had to think about it for awhile to figure out exactly what he/she was saying. I mean, I got that it was unflattering, sure. But was the author simply saying the writing was bad? Or was it that we were just imitating real authors because we weren't backed by big houses?

I was a little confused. But it didn't matter. The point was that this author felt that indie authors were upsetting the apple cart. And we are, no doubt, But so are e-books - the Post article eloquently points this out, as well. In fact, there's lots of blame to go around if you want to point fingers about the uncertainties of publishing.

And it's a tempting game to play, believe me. Hey, I know about uncertainties, about change. I have my own thoughts on versions of karaoke. I used to be a newspaper reporter. Newspapers - remember them? I studied hard to become a journalist, but soon, everything was online, and everyone could be a "citizen journalist." Screw formal training and solid ethics. Everybody could be a reporter.

So if you want to shake your fist at the sky, I know what you're going through. .

But I think I get the point. There are plenty of crappy indie books out there, and that's frustrating. But there are plenty of really good ones, too. Just like there are plenty of really good - and awfully bad - traditonally published novels.

And here's the thing - in karaoke, only the best singers get the applause. I think in publishing, it'll be the same way. Readers want good storytelling, solid writing. The good authors will stay the course, and the others will just fade away.

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