Monday, March 02, 2015

Just desserts?

We split our sides, rolling in merriment. Or we sob, weep and gnash our teeth. We shall watch the latest Kindle royalty payment go up in the smoke of the nine or ten cigarettes that it pays for.

It is all the more galling given that writing my novels has in effect become my 'day job', in the light of ever diminishing demand for my services as translator or voicer.

Disruptive change does not arrive with a handy operating manual in that enticing shiny box. Nor does it come without victims. The irreversible disruption may only sunder a single link in what had been hitherto a well-established and widely respected procedural, relational or transactional chain. The wondrous novum, the change superseding or at least casting into doubt the formerly unquestioned linkages may not bring with it an end-to-end alternative solution. On the contrary, it may exacerbate the problem.

Such is the case with digital self-publishing. It is shockingly disruptive in the context of a chain forged soon after Gutenberg issued redundancy notices to the monastery scribes.

Self-publishing no doubt lightens the burden of the under-paid interns condemned to labour as ‘slush pile’ readers. The author is spared the glib cant of the literary agent and also the reproofs and suggestions of an editor… the writer enjoys untrammelled authonomy. His or her manuscript is ‘out there’, published and on sale for a reasonable price, accessible on a wide range of electronic reader devices.

The writer should not feel lonely… thanks to Kindle, millions share the same fate. And when the earnings are so laughable, one is reminded of the Dunning-Kruger effect, defined by Wiki as “a  metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their ineptitude.”

1 comment:

Helene Brazier said...

Since it is now March 4 where you are, I'd like to welcome you to the three quarters of a century club. Happy Birthday.