Tag Archives: vanity press

Vanity fair

I read. A lot. In fact, I consider life an interruption of my reading. So it will come as no surprise that I own a Kindle. Okay, okay I own two. And the newer one calls itself, very snarkily I might add, my ‘2nd Kindle’. It has an attitude because its predecessor committed suicide due to overwork. RIP my first Kindle, RIP. I’ll never forget you.

I mostly own a Kindle (or two) because I ran out of bookshelves and walls to put them on. But making the transition from paper to ebooks wasn’t easy. At first it was terribly exciting being able to download the classics for free and look up any author I could think of. Then I strayed into the badlands. Otherwise known as self-published works.

There are lots of people out there who refer to themselves as ‘indie authors’ and they are the self-publishers of a new generation of bad writers. In the old days, if you couldn’t get published you’d have to pay a Vanity Press to print your book so you could flog it to the public. But now that anyone with a computer can sell an ebook it’s a whole new ballgame. A game that’s mostly being played by people with no natural talent or skill, and absolutely no training.

The best thing about the printing press is that everyone and their dog couldn't just foist a book on the world.

The best thing about the printing press was that everyone and their dog couldn’t just foist a book on the world.

Just this morning I read the following in the sample of a book called Switch (New World Series) by Janelle Stalder that I downloaded from Amazon:

‘A shiver ran down her spine at the cold, calculated expression on his face, the power he exuberated with just the way he held himself.’

Exuberated isn’t even a word. So it comes up on spell check. I know, right? A little further on I came across this gem:

‘When she glanced up at him for a second, she saw his eyes sweeping back up, unhurriedly, as if he’d been pursuing her body from head to toe.’

Alrighty then!

Now before you think I am an indie-author hater, let me clarify that I am a fan of several, including Linsday Buroker and JL Bryan. I happily pay for their books. What I refuse to spend money on are badly written, poorly edited, self-published travesties. Everyone may have a book in them but most people need a ghostwriter to get it down in a readable format.

If this self-publishing lark continues unchecked we will be left with a generation that won’t ever have read a real novel. It’s the equivalent of never having heard a real singer because you’ve only ever been exposed to karaoke. I’m talking drunken, off-key karaoke where none of the lyrics are sung correctly. Which is pretty much the only way I know how to do it. You don’t even want to know about the one and only time I got my hands on Band Hero. Let’s just say I’ve never been allowed near one again.

This cover of a Penguin edition of Vanity Fair by William Thackeray perfectly illustrates the state of self-publishing today.

This cover of a Penguin edition of Vanity Fair by William Thackeray could be illustrating the free-for-all that is self-publishing today.

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