So apparently there was a debate a little while ago with the topic “Amazon is the reader’s friend“. The for and against sides are pretty much exactly the line up of bland, interchangeable white men you’d expect, if you follow the endless rounds of Amazon vs. Nonazon debates. So far, so yawning, right?
So I was kind of scanning the article half-heartedly, when I got to this quote:
So the debaters also considered whether “traditional publishing actually functions as a tyranny.” Mr. Konrath noted: “Publishers reject hundreds of books for every one that they publish. Now think about that. That’s censorship. It really is.”
Quick recap: Joe Konrath was a midlist career author who, a couple of years back, reclaimed his extensive backlist from his old publishing houses, and re-released the titles themselves via Amazon, just at the head of the big selfpub ebook wave. He made bank, and now continues to make bank by being one of the leading selfpub “gurus”. Got all that?
Okay. So. Once more:
Publishers reject hundreds of books for every one that they publish. Now think about that. That’s censorship. It really is.
No, Joe. No it’s fucking not and you know it. What disingenuous, hyperbolic rubbish. It’s also entirely indicative of a really entitled fucking attitude I see way too much of. I mean, what do people think this line is really trying to imply? That publishers are somehow obliged to publish every piece of shit-stained word vomit that runs across their desk, lest they twist themselves into a caricatured jackboot-wearing, book-burning horror? Like, seriously. Just what. The. Fuck.
Let’s just be super, super clear about this: no private entity in the world is obliged to give your piss-soaked ravings a platform. They’re especially not obliged to invest money in producing, marketing, and distributing them. I don’t care whether this is Amazon, or Hachette, or the bloody comments section on a bloody website. I know this is difficult for certain people to grasp, but the reality is you have no magic inalienable right to demand someone else invest their time and money and space in you and/or your ideas, purely for your benefit. Moreover, this is not “censorship” when it happens (or fails to happen). It might suck–such as when publishers shy away from investing in, say, books with queer content or PoC heroes–but it’s not “censorship”. And there’s a mile of difference between an industry’s systematic disenfranchisement of certain minority viewpoints and one editor rejecting your shitty thriller. Seriously. Trust me on this one. Light years worth of miles.
Yeah. This sort of attitude makes me mad. Super mad. But it’s pretty fucking telling looking at the kinds of people who espouse it, isn’t it?