A major gripe I have with much of the self-publishing community is that they push for authors to get as many books out there as fast as they possibly can. This goes along with my post last week about not rewriting.
I can see where some of this advice comes in. Some authors write very quickly, and write very clean drafts, so there’s not much holding them back from publishing. In the traditional publishing model, those authors would have to wait a year or more for their finished manuscript to be published. In the self-publishing or indie model, they can go from finished manuscript to product for sale in a very short amount of time.
That’s very temping, but I still can’t get over the concern for quality when every single author is trying to do that.
Here’s a story to go along with this. As a teenager, I loved Ted Dekker books. I devoured every one I could find, and there are several I re-read in the space of a year. Nowadays, I don’t read Ted Dekker. In fact, there’s only one book of his that I would re-read. Part of that is that I no longer read horror/spiritual thrillers (not for any particular faith reason…it’s a post for another day), and part of it is that I grew disenchanted with the quality of his writing at some point. I remember one year that he released 4 or 6 books. I read a couple of them and was immediately struck by how the quality of his writing had dropped. And I’ve never really picked any of his work back up.
Similarly, I recently tried a book co-written by the writers of the book Write. Publish. Repeat. I liked the how-to book, but I didn’t like their fiction, and part of that was because of the quality of the writing.
Maybe I’m a bit of a snob, because both these guys and Ted Dekker sell a lot of books. So should the quality of the work really matter, when apparently folks will still read poorer quality work
I still say that yes, quality does matter. At least to me. I can’t help it–as a kid, I dreamed of having my stories read generations later, like Lewis and Tolkien. I want my work to last. For that, you need quality, not just quantity. As should be apparent by some of my blogs on this subject, I don’t think that necessarily means that traditional publishing is the way to go. They publish just as much crap as the self-publishers. But if you want to rise to the top and have your work endure, quality is a must, and I think there are authors on both sides of the fence that are capable of it.