Good Stories, Good Authors, Goodbye!

By: Cathy Macleod

GOOD stories, good authors, goodbye – victims of the book plague. Book plague? And why should good authors fear?

Because already too many good authors have lost their lustre, overpressed by their publishers and the marketers who control those publishers. There are too many bad books by good authors, a plague caused by global business. The good authors and their good stories are most prone to succumb.

Plague symptoms accelerate as we near the lucrative pre-Christmas buying spree, when brand-names swamp the bookstores.

Brand-names, get it? Many good authors have become just brand-names and nothing else, reclassified by the whizguys who manipulate the industry. A record one-million books got published last year, big-biz grabbing the biggest spoils.

Good stories and good authors still exist. Amazon has them hiding in its vast wilderness, and www.booktaste.com links to some goodies. Nevertheless the book plague rages on. Publishers caught in the global haggle cannot wait for their star scribblers to complete a new masterpiece. Hence the prized brand-name can appear on work ill-structured, unfinished, and often unreadable. Production gets sloppy, too. Count the misprints.

Hasty writing and skimped editing meets the deadline, but also destroys creativity. A manuscript that should be returned for a rewrite here and there is gleefully accepted and launched into bookstores incomplete, pimpled with errors, and likely to disappoint its buyers.

After paying to read a favourite brand-name, and regretting it, reader faith disappears and wallets tighten.

Why do publishers slaughter their golden geese? Because global business ranks marketers above editors.

Why don’t major reviewers expose this greed, this mediocrity offered as genius? Because the tsunami of brand-name titles drowns honest assessment.

Good stories and good authors are now a threatened species.

This from cathy.macleod@optusnet.com.au

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