Happy New Year, all! I hope that everyone had a fun and happy holiday.
Kicking off the 2018 I decided that I wanted to put out one of my posts where I ponder something through writing it out. Specifically I wanted to ponder the idea of books and traditional publishing and the seeming difficulty that books appear to have compared to all other forms of media.
On one of my posts late last year (honestly only a few weeks ago at best) I railed against ebook pricing. This goes with it in a loose way. In that post, I decried that there should be no reason that an ebook was more expensive than either a paperback or hardcover copy of a book. In fact, I believe, like Amazon, that $5 for an ebook is about the cap. Anything above that just feels excessive. But I am going to go a step further and say that books in general need to be evaluated in terms of their pricing (among other things).
Here’s what’s been occurring to me and why this is a bit of a pondering post rather than a real diatribe on pricing. I believe that writers need to start believing and acting as though they are competing. First, with other writers. Then, writers need to compete with TV, internet, movies, and games. Yes. Even games.
This is where I believe that the publishing industry has drifted away from. I think it might be too ‘high-brow’ in a manner of speaking. I think that books, even those written as genre fiction, are treated as of a higher standard than TV, radio, ect. Fact is, books are just another form of entertainment. A form that can offer a lot more, yes. I believe that I said something along this line on the podcast that I was on: publishers want to have mass-market appeal while only behaving to service niche markets. In other words, they create or cater to markets that do not lend to mass market appeal, and then rail about how little people read.
But then you get breakaway hits that come out of nowhere like the 50 Shades of Grey saga, widely panned as poorly written smut. But it sold like crazy.
I believe people like to read. I believe that they want to read. It just is that we aren’t writing the stuff that they want. Or stuff that is engaging in the way that they want.
Pricing is part of it. Word count is another.
Trying to push through a book of 100,000 words or more is intimidating. Particularly when writers like to pontificate at nauseum in ways that might impress a literary scholar, or a genre audience depending on the topic, but would immediately put to sleep a normal person who would go to read it.
I know books are supposed to have some form of enlightenment to them. Or at least that is what we often want to believe Books are better than TV. Or movies. But then if that was the case, why do they seem to be inaccessible to the masses?
Maybe in many cases it’s just that people don’t know better. Or maybe we’ve just become accustomed to an entertainment style that touts itself as of a higher standard than the druggery on video screens, so it believes it needs to price itself accordingly.
Or maybe this rant is because I haven’t figured out how to get my own books to sell…