publishing industry, self-publishing

EW: A Harbinger of the Publishing Apocalypse?

Check out what EW’s reviewing now.

Yes.

A “companion novel” to a piece of Twilight fan fic.

OK, to be fair, this isn’t a review — it’s a preview.

Fine.

But – c’mon now. There aren’t any works out there based on – oh, I don’t know – say, original ideas? 

I do know, as some of the commenters point out on that page, that there was recently a mass exodus of EW staffers. A lot of folks (Ken Tucker was one) left the fold for greener pastures.

Is this part of the reason behind the Great EW Diaspora?

I confess: I don’t know. But I think it’s worth examining the repulsion I feel towards this kind of display.

Is it the nature of the book? (It’s pretty steamy erotica, or so I am informed.)

In a word or two: HELL no.

I used to write erotica myself – I’m pretty sure somewhere out there in the long-forgotten corners of the internet, you’ll still be able to find a piece or two of mine (though attributed to a pseudonym).

It’s definitely the “fan-fic” part of the equation.

Why does fan-fic cause such a primal emotional reaction for me? (And I am fairly sure I’m not alone — that many writers who struggle to develop their own plots and characters into full-blown novels have that same reaction, to some degree.)

I have given this some thought lately, and I think it’s got nothing to do with the authors — I’m not begrudging them their moment of success.

I think it has everything to do with the publishing industry’s continued devolution.

What’s getting the big-bucks advances? Let’s take a look:

  • Celebrity “books” (usually ghost written, but not always)
  • Novels based on someone else’s original work (see above)
  • And, refreshingly, one work (from the UK) with an original premise (about a man with undiagnosed Asperger Syndrome – a disease which may soon no longer exist, thanks to the DSM-V)

One work.

One.

I know there are others – people get publishing deals all the time – but not as much as was previously true, and most of what sells now — well, it ain’t literary fiction.

It’s depressing.

It’s hard not to look at the phenomenon of the success of fan-fic in general and classify it as a symptom of the larger set of ills plaguing the entire publishing industry.

I don’t begrudge the authors one cent of their financial reward, I truly don’t.

I just wish truly original work was equally cherished.

And at some level, don’t we have to acknowledge that the problem doesn’t rest ultimately with the publishing industry players — but with the readers?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *