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Thread: Question

  1. #1
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    Question

    Maybe someone can explain this to me. Seeing how very difficult it is to get a publisher to accept a manuscript, how is it that there are so many atrociously written books out there?

    I only know that because the place I work at has a small library for the patients. As I was working nights, I slowly but surely read my way through it. And there was a not unsubstancial amount of books where I got to page 20, maybe 40, and I threw the towel. Normally I have a rule that I finish every book I start. But I am sorry, some of those were so poorly written that I just could not stand it and put them back.

    But how did they ever get published? I am assuming they are not Vanity Published, I doubt they would have made it into our semi-public library.

    So what gives?



  2. #2
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    Re: Question

    Lots of badly written books get published. You have to remember that publishers produce books they think will sell. And a lot of crappy books sell. It's the audience they're thinking about. It's all about making money.

    But well written books sell, too. To a different audience.

  3. #3
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    Re: Question

    I see. Okay. Thanks.

  4. #4
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    Re: Question

    What Leslee said.

    Publishing is a business, pure and simple. Decision-makers make their very best guess what will sell. Their focus is, "Okay, how many folks are likely to read this." That's what they should be doing. Readers are a vast segmented group.

    Beyond that, what any one of thinks is terrible may well be wonderful to another reader. Readers aren't all cut from the same bolt of cloth. I like mysteries and thrillers. Hard science fiction, WWII history, etc. Others enjoy, well, what they enjoy.

    Ain't nuttin' wrong with that.

    Cur

  5. #5
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    Re: Question

    Why getting publisher's attention is so hard:

    Publishers used to be less picky than they are now because the amount of manuscripts they receive grows exponentially every year. Back in the days, before internet, before everyone was entitled to a public education even, they received a lot less MSs and so more chance of being noticed by an editor and getting picked up for publishing. Those were the days when people actually thought they had something to prove when they wrote something (not saying us modern writers don't think we have something to prove, just saying that with modern mass electronic media, many modern writers have too much to prove).

    These days, everyone thinks they can write, because everyone has the tools for it. We all had education growing up (well, you'd hope as much), most of us have access to a computer which auto-corrects everything for spelling & grammar, and a good portion of us has access to the internet which makes research much faster than our ancestors. When everyone has something to say, the avenues for saying them becomes over-crowded and our opinions become diluted. Editors don't actually care if what you say will change the world anymore, they only care if what you say will be liked by most readers and bring them heaps of money.

    Why duds were published:

    Absolutely no idea. Why did people love Bush Jr so much when he wasn't even that articulate which you need to be in order to be a politician.

  6. #6
    Amy Lou
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    Re: Question

    Very good points good morning. I agree, everyone has the tools to write these days.
    Amy

  7. #7
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    Re: Question

    "Why did people love Bush Jr so much when he wasn't even that articulate which you need to be in order to be a politician."

    Yes, that's a good example of "good books" vs "bad books"---not.

    Sorry, but I hate when politics gets dragged into a thread.

    Cur: "Beyond that, what any one of thinks is terrible may well be wonderful to another reader."

    This is absolutely it. Plus, as writers, I think we are much more critical of other people's work . I can think of 2 bestselling authors offhand who are what I consider "lazy" writers--99% telling, and not even telling it that well. Yet they're both bazillionaires, and my friends (who aren't writers) tell me they love these books.

  8. #8
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    Re: Question

    Yeah, what everybody else said. For every reader who hates a book or finds it badly-written, you can bet there are a dozen readers who love it.

    And, yes, with today's tools, lots and lots of people who never would have put pen to paper or fingers to typewriter a generation ago are now happily writing away. And too-often paying someone to "publish" their work. Plus, the internet has given a gazillion people a forum to voice their opinions or to rant or whatever, and the feedback they get often encourages them to try other kinds of writing.

    You like what you like and I like what I like -- and the publishers buy what they believe will sell. It is what it is.

    Last time I heard an editor say something like, "I knew it wouldn't sell, but it's wonderful and I love it, so I bought it!" was about 20 years ago. <sigh>

  9. #9
    Senior Member Frank Baron's Avatar
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    Re: Question

    Computers, or more specifically, word processing programs bundled with computers, is (IMO) the main reason agents have risen to such prominence as publishing's gatekeepers. Every year snce the mid-90s, thousands of noobs just out of high school or laid off from WalMart thought "Why don't I just write a book? It's not like I have to learn to spell or buy a typewriter and reams of paper and Whiteout and stamps. It's so easy now!"

    Publishers were simply being overwhelmed with submissions. They needed another layer of sifting and who better than someone they didn't have to hire? Enter agents into the pantheon of publishing gods.

  10. #10
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    Re: Question

    There are numerous publishers that we never hear about. As was mentioned above, they know there is a market for this mindless drivel, so why argue with success? And they have stables of writers, all with numerous pen-names that just keep churning this stuff out. The writers might make their living by this routine, but it's not much of a living. The publisher, on the other hand... So keep on trucking, and try for an agent. And run your writing through WR critiques. And good luck.

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