I keep reading complaints around the blogosphere about indie authors spewing word vomit instead of writing good books. I fear I must object.
Even the icons heard the same criticism.
Lawrence Ferlinghetti believed art should be accessible to all people, not just a handful of highly educated intellectuals. He published his own work with his own City Lights Press. Have you read his poems? If not I’d recommend following their trail around a page. It’s kind of like wandering through San Francisco.
Michael Leddy, commenting on the poems of Wild Dreams of a New Beginning, “Ferlinghetti seems the poetic equivalent of the jazz soloist who, for want of invention, quotes fragments of well-known songs, hoping that the audience will be content to congratulate itself on recognizing the sources.”
Ferlinghetti was also arrested and tried for printing and selling obscene and indecent literature– Allen Ginsberg’s Howl.
Critics widely disapproved of Jack Kerouac’s work, On the Road.
William Burroughs’ work was considered obscene and banned from most libraries. Go on, eat your Naked Lunch.
The reception of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was largely negative. One reviewer described the book as “a tissue of horrible and disgusting absurdity.”
Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte – from Graham’s Lady Magazine: “How a human being could have attempted such a book as the present without committing suicide before he had finished a dozen chapters, is a mystery. It is a compound of vulgar depravity and unnatural horrors.”
There’s this thing on Amazon… It’s called the Send Sample Now button. And there’s this other feature. It’s called Search Inside This Book.
You can sample any book before you buy it for your Kindle and you can read a few pages of almost any print book before you make a decision to purchase.
Use those things. I consider them a perk for the wary reader.
Go on, use them.
It would be tough to estimate the number of books I’ve purchased in my lifetime, traditionally published books from big name publishing houses written by both established authors and debut authors that were lousy, a complete and utter waste of my time. I read a lot, I’ve been known to read as many as three books at a time, and I’ve been reading since I was 18 months old… You do the math. I’m guessing a few truckloads of non-indie books have ended up in my DNF/DONATE pile over the years.
I don’t write crap. I don’t spew word vomit. Neither do many many indie writers I know.
Look, we all know some indie authors have problems with editing, story content, formatting. Some indie authors have no talent. Some have a great story to tell but don’t understand craft. Some understand craft but have no story. This is how it’s always been for would-be authors.
But you can’t paint us all with one brush.
That’s why, if you’re concerned about word vomit, it’s wise to sample a work before you buy, regardless of the source of the work.
Personally I think it’s cool… I like the thought of all those excellent indie books waiting to be discovered by adventurous readers. We must be doing something right – publishers are using the glut of indies as the new slush pile.