Monday 18 October 2010

It's late...

I shouldn’t have gone online tonight because, to be honest, I’m a little depressed now. I’ve read about plagiarists who create multiple identities (and seriously, if you’re not getting paid, what on earth do you get out of such an endeavour?) so that they can put “their work” into even more markets; I’ve read about idiots whose ‘great new books’ feature generous and glittering cover blurbs from people neither I nor Google have heard of and I’ve read about people who big themselves up out of all recognition to their talent or publishing credits.

Don’t get me wrong, everyone has to start somewhere and we all need to shout from the rooftops about our wares every now and again but some people seem to forget one key detail - you need to write. You need to produce a work, an original piece of fiction that will make people stop and say “Christ, that was good”. A cover blurb from your Uncle Frank telling me that your new novel is a work of genius will just result in a) your not getting a penny from me and b) me never, ever taking you seriously again.

Like the spam stuff I get through Facebook and, sadly, GoodReads - ‘Become my fan’ or ‘I suggest you read my book’. You know what, I’m sorry to say that your sterling efforts to recruit me have just resulted in your being wiped off my friends list. On Facebook, I’ll become a fan of what I want, when I want to do it - I won’t do it because you ask me to and I’ll delete you because you asked (Facebook rule number 2). Likewise, on GoodReads - yes, you’ve written a book and that’s brilliant, but why suggest it to me? That just sounds desperate. And invokes rule number 2.

I’m very lucky. I’m part of a vibrant small press scene, with several of my peers and friends breaking out into the mainstream markets and presses. That’s brilliant. I revel in the creative energy and spirit of that. Reading through my Facebook updates today has been depressing (the plagiarist especially) and my tolerance for message board idiocy is at an all-time low (I’m done with Shocklines now - I should have gone when Greg Lamberson did).

When did this beloved genre, for some, become not about the writing but, instead, about the “look at me”. Don’t tell me, you idiot, show me - write it, publish it, make an impression.


  1. My rule of thumb on Goodreads is to reject friend requests from people who have more friends than books read...

  2. That's not a bad rule, actually.