Wednesday, March 15, 2017

An Open Letter to Publishing Companies

Dear Publishing Companies everywhere, 

First off, I've always had a love/hate relationship with you; but recently, I feel that the hate aspect of the deal has grown exponentially. Your job has always brought me pleasure in life. Books. Your job is books. Sorting through authors from all over the world. Reading some stories, brushing the other ones aside. Editing, marketing, publishing, and promoting. Books bring me happiness. I've always loved to read. There's always been something about being able to disappear into a fantasy world and shut out reality for a couple of hours... Books are pure evidence that human beings can do magic. I can't think of any other way to put it.
For something that brings so many people so much pleasure, why has the process of putting good books into our hands gone out the window?
Look, I know that the publishing process isn't easy. That's the nature of the business. So, why not focus on finding and promoting new and wholesome content?
I'm beyond serious when I say this: I'm sick of YA fiction. I'm sick of going to the library and coming home with a healthy stack of books, to be forced to slam most (if not all) of them shut, unfinished, and in frustration.
Generally, I narrow down the offensiveness of a book to 3 categories. 

• the content
• the writing
• whether or not it's interesting
(usually a mixture of the first 2 categories).

First, let's talk about content. If I had to use one word to describe the stereotype of the fiction on shelves today, it'd have to be trash. It is a rare and beautiful thing when I stumble across a novel that isn't a play-by-play description of sex in the first person OR a novel that doesn't contain explicit words. I'm not uber sensitive when it comes to swearing, but it just isn't necessary in a book. Especially when a book contains a swear word every four lines. It just harms my opinion of the book. Not only does it take away from the natural progression of the story, it distracts me from what's actually going on. As for the sexual content in books today: I'm constantly finding myself angry and disturbed at what people write. I pick up a random book off the shelf, flip to a random place in said book, and usually utter one or more of the following, 
"Oh, heck to the no." 
"This. is. disgusting." 
"Whyyy would somebody write this?"
"Whyyy would anybody read this?"


Sex scenes in books aren't cool, they're distracting and unnecessary. If I'm enjoying a book and come across an explicit section, I skip over it and keep reading. And you know what the funniest thing about it is? I don't miss a thing. I'm able to follow the plot after skipping those pages. Nothing is missing. 

This just goes to show how unnecessary this type of content is. 

Secondly, the writing. As a writer, I'm a bit picky about word choice, sentence structure, and writing style. I know what it takes to write a novel. It's hard. You finish the first draft with a victory cry, take the week off to refresh your mind and then begin endless work of editing. Draft after draft after draft, taking your first draft and making it pretty. The polishing work. If something doesn't seem polished, or like it was edited at all, you can be assured that I'm not wasting my time reading it.
And publishers? Why are you publishing it? 

And lastly, whether or not it's interesting. This category seems like a mixture of the first two at a glance (and it is a lot of the time), but there's a bit more to it than what meets the eye. See, another thing that I'm tired of is going through novel after novel and finding them all to be the same. The progression of the story is generally the same. 
Boy meets girl. Girl is awkward and boy is not. Girl hates boy, boy loves girl. Boy and girl don't choose to hang out, they're forced to because of life circumstances. Girl starts to fall for boy. Boy does something stupid and breaks girl's heart. Girl shuts him out of her life forever. Boy shows up with a peace offering of flowers and chocolate and they end up together forever. 
The end. 
Before I go any further, please realize that this isn't every YA book that I've ever read. It's a generalization of 95% of the books that I've read (or started reading and hastily closed). 

What y'all need to realize is that there are good and genuine authors with beautiful and original stories out there waiting to be found and published. My friend circle is made up of quite a few young authors and I've read their work. They write eloquently and the stories that they tell are new

They've tried to go about publishing their works the traditional way. It isn't easy and many of them have been forced to publish their own writings just to be read. Self-publishing isn't a bad thing - it's a very good thing! But it shouldn't be the plan b that every good author has to fall back on because of the failure of the publisher. 

There are so many new stories waiting to be told and authors waiting to be found. Stop wasting your time on the same old rubbish that we've been reading for the past 10 years! Use your time and your resources to put good literature into our hands. Publish the type of book that will still be read in 100 years' time. 
The new generation of Classical Literature. 

Please, publishing companies, stop failing us. 



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