Robert Pirsig’s famous book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was all about quality, right? The question is where is the quality these days? It is no doubt there, but how to find it amongst the torrent of words?
Yes, there are many who will offer (for a fee) to give your book the exposure it deserves, but those that do that only care about the exposure and have no interest in quality writing. It is all about the marketing, because even winning a literary award doesn’t guarantee you sales. It is all rather tragic, unless writers eschew their wish to recover costs and even make a few pennies from their anguished hours at the keyboard.
What if good writers just gave their work away for free? It is getting closer and closer to that scenario with the millions of free books being offered on sites like Kobo Books and Amazon.
Writing as a publisher with over twenty years of publishing experience I have to tell you that I do not see independent publishers surviving much longer unless all our suppliers (typesetters, printers, web masters etc.) are willing to give their services for free. Would that mean that we abandon our standards; our ordered lives? Possibly, but that would also mean abandoning our quest for quality. Our motorcycle will not be maintained and that might be a dangerous and even fatal path.
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