Friday, March 18, 2011

We Need a Clearinghouse for New Writers

It is so hard for new writers to establish themselves and get recognized these days.  Part of this is because there are so many voices in the chorus.  But part of this is also because there is no way for readers to know what new writers are worth reading and which are not.

Sure, reviewers provide some of this function, but there's no repository of reviews I can access for all newly published work.  There's just too much content and not enough people reviewing the content.

Additionally, I find many self-published works are of poor quality in terms of writing, spelling, and basic mechanics; it would be great to have a clearinghouse of some kind that readers could use to identify quality work.  It would be good for writers too because it would give them a clear channel to sell their work in.  At the moment, there's a plethora of channels, each one different and each one needs special treatment.  For example, to sell in the Amazon bookstore, I need an Amazon version.  To sell in Apple's iBookstore I need an epub version and sign up as a partner.  Smashwords requires its own version with a special license attached; I can't use the iBookstore version without modification.  For the writer, this is really like death by a thousand cuts.

A single central clearinghouse would solve this problem.  Smashwords tries to be this but their versions of content do not always play well with all the available electronic devices and they do not let me upload my own version of a specific output.  They do all the conversion.  So even through I can create a better Apple version locally on my computer, I cannot use Smashwords to distribute it to all the channels they support.

So I think we need a clearinghouse like Smashwords but with editors and reviewers of note so that readers would have confidence in their reviewers and certifications.  And that's unlikely since the writers would have to pay them some amount of money to be listed; otherwise, the clearinghouse would have attract advertisers so that the editors and reviewers could be paid.

And all this assumes only ebooks would be involved because they cost so little to create.  If you bring paper versions or audio versions into the mix, your costs rise since you'd need to involve more people to handle these versions of each publication and you introduce printing and shipping costs for the paper version too.

Perhaps someday.  Until then I just do what I can to create the best quality work possible and promote as well as I can.

No comments: