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November 10th, 2007

8:02 AM

Another one bites the dust

Quality control

Well, reports are coming in that Chippewa Publishing, which also has an offshoot called Lady Aibell or "that Hillbilly Haven place", is closing down by November 30.

Well, that's sad, I suppose, if one isn't desensitized to whole closing down thing by now. At least one bites the dust every month. That's to be expected, if you ask me, given that the ebook readers are still few in number to sustain such a large number of authors and publishers and the fact that many of the epublishers are run by people who usually have more ambitions than actual knowledge of how to run a business.

This is going to sound really cruel but I think the flame-out of these epublishers is actually a good thing for authors and readers alike in the end. Yes, I know, it's horrible for all those poor souls who have such undoubtedly amazing short stories and novellas that they want to show the world, but I think it's actually good that we have a bigger barrier to stop any random person from getting his or her book published in a non-vanity way.

No, before you bring on the pitchforks, let me explain. The epublishing houses that will survive tend to be ones that have financial backing, long-term business plans, and a generally acceptable level of quality control. That means that in the end we may actually see some respectable level of quality in the ebooks that are put out in the future.

Many electronically published authors like to believe that they can all come out with amazing stories. That's understandable, but honestly, such opinions can only thrive on author support forums where everyone reassures everyone that they are all amazing, beautiful, and talented. The truth in the real world is that not everyone who has stories to tell is ready to be published. Sure, that is true in dead tree publishing as well, but dead tree publishing has a far higher barrier to publication when it comes to new authors. This, I believe, prevents any fairweather authors from flooding the marketplace with even more turds than before.

One of the  persistent beliefs in the ebook scene (and especially in the vanity publishing scene, but that's not the topic here) is that publishers are publishing less books or publishers only publish celebrity books nowadays. That's not true, not if you look at the new arrivals section (especially in the romance section) and realize that there are still a good number of genuinely new authors - not just an old hand with a new pseudonym - getting their books published. The whole "the publishers hate us/it's all a conspiracy/bookstores don't sell books anymore" propaganda feels more to me like some kind of green grapes justification for frustrated wannabe-authors looking for something to blame for their unpublished status.

But just like how many people can't sell their scripts in Hollywood or how many beautiful people end up waiting tables in LA instead of starring in blockbuster movies, not everyone is going to get published. It's probably unfair, but that's life. Nobody who writes a story is entitled to get it published. In a way, writing is writing, a gift, but getting published is like a job - not everyone gets the position, and sometimes, you need persistence, if not a lot of luck or even contacts in the business.

Besides, these epublished authors or aspiring authors will have to spend more time improving their current WIPs to be accepted for publishing by epublishers - who can afford to pick and choose rather than publishing anything and everything that comes their way - instead of spending all day whining about reviewers, mean girls, and other people who can't understand their dazzling brilliance. 

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