Saturday, January 22, 2011

Controversy on Kindle Boards--Lee Goldberg on Indie Writers

Yesterday, Lee Goldberg, (author of the MONK series) decided to post on Kindle Boards. He carried over a debate from Joe Konrath's blog about indie publishing versus traditional publishing.

Kindle Boards is a very friendly forum, and I was interested in what he had to say--especially because it involved a disagreement with Joe.

Then his posts got pretty nasty. This is what he said about Indie Writers:

I have downloaded well over 100 samples of self-published work in the last few months...mostly in the detective/thriller/mystery and general fiction categories, with a few vampire/zombie/horror stuff thrown in for the hell of it. My God. Anybody who says 99% of it isn't unreadable, unpublishable swill hasn't sampled it. And I fear once people do, they will just write-off self-published work as a whole because so much of it is so bad (and so obviously self-published). And that hurts ALL of us. I don't have the answer to the problem...but I believe it is a real problem and that there will be blowback from readers as a result.

Not very supportive. And it angered many indie writers. I have no idea what he's downloaded, so I don't know if my work is included in his analysis. I hope not. I haven't read Goldberg's work, so I have no idea if I like his writing--consequently I don't know if his opinion about my writing would be of value to me. 

This is one of the posts I made on that thread:

I agree with those who've said that epublishing allows a writer to put out work before it may be ready. I thought my first novel (a novel I wrote years ago called Rosey's Dream), was ready for publication. Then I attended a writers' retreat and had my eyes opened. I listened, learned, hired a writing coach, did a rewrite with expert guidance, and learned a lot about writing a novel. I continue to learn by reading and writing.

My favorite authors include Jane Austen and D.H. Lawrence, and I have to wonder if they would manage to get published today. Probably not. A lot of what gets published by traditional publishers is not great writing. Traditional publishers publish what they believe will sell--and these days that's often determined by their marketing departments. On top of that, writing is subjective. Even grammar and punctuation can be subjective--look at Faulkner.

Hopefully, as writers, we are constantly working to perfect our craft. Striving to advance as writers. But maybe not. Some extremely successful writers seem to go downhill, becoming lazy, telling the same story over-and-over--their writing becomes, not just formulaic, but boring. Bad. And yet it sells.

I like what's currently happening with epublishing, because it allows many voices to tell stories in many ways. I believe, as writers, it's our job to learn our craft, so we can tell our stories in a clear voice, a strong voice, a strange voice--OUR TRUE VOICE. Thank goodness all those voices can be different! There are only so many stories, but myriad ways to tell them. That's what makes writing (and reading) interesting--in my opinion.


Bestselling Kindle Author Scott Nicholson posted:

I don't know. Before I publish anything, I look around for some writer's ring to kiss, so maybe I get a little pat on the head and be told I may be okay if I just stick out in the fields tilling the soil, as long as the fruit is packed into the elevator and sent up to the top of the tower where the real writers dwell.

You do not need anyone's permission to write. You don't need anyone's permission to follow your dream. The only rule is there are no rules. The faster I broke my "traditional publisher" training and brainwashing, the faster I saw real success, to where for the first time in my life both my goals and dreams are within reach. No, not within reach--I hold them.

I am now a full-time, professional fiction writer, after 15 years of doing it the Old Way and always waiting for permission. What really irks some "established" writers, and it's not even superficial, is that other people can achieve the lofty position they once held along with a privileged few. Elitism is not very fetching. But I understand it. Five years ago, I'd have said the same thing.

Now, I see the power of living your dream rather than waiting for permission. The world is yours if you want it.

Scott Nicholson


L.C. Evans said...

Wonderful post, Suzanne. I completely agree. I saw Lee Goldberg's thread on KB and declined to comment.

JC Phelps said...

Great post! I think the world should know what Goldberg is saying and HOW he is saying it.

I do agree with him that there are bad books out there, but I don't agree that all bad books are Indie or all Indie books are bad.

Thank you for posting this.

author Scott Nicholson said...

Just another crank in a world full of them. No one needs approval--especially kiss-the-rung approval--to write.


Suzanne Tyrpak said...

Thanks for the response. Scott, I love your post on Kindle Boards!

Sandra Edwards said...

Well said, Suzanne! Well said!

Lee Goldberg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lee Goldberg said...

JC wrote: "I think the world should know what Goldberg is saying and HOW he is saying it."

Have I been hiding what I am saying and HOW I am saying it? Seems to me I've been pretty out-front about it. Last time I looked, my post on Joe's blog had close to 300 comments.

It's hardly a secret :-)

Scott wrote: "No one needs approval -- Kiss-the-rung approval -- to write."

Huh? Please elaborate. What "rung" did I say a writer had to kiss to be "approved" to write?