Monday, January 30, 2012
Thoughts on Editors and Agents in the world of Amazon
Today I came across another in the long list of doom and gloom articles about the publishing industry, but it seemed to me to ignore one role of agents and publishers, to weed out the rubbish. Does Amazon do this for its authors or does it just publish anything submitted to it?
Editors and agents act as a filter so that the shelves of our bookstores only carry the best of what is written. They reject the unsaleable and nurture those with promise. As authors and would be authors, they are our heartbreak and our hope. Where will we be without them? They force a higher standard on those who get published, because they will not be published unless they reach that standard.
Amazon offers us the final democratization of the publishing business - anything can be published, no matter how bad, because there are no agents or editors involved. And what do readers do as the quality of books goes down? Are they forced to restrict themselves to anything written before 2012, because most of what is written after is awful, and what is not awful has never reached its full potential for lack of an objective editor?
In the world of Amazon, does the critic become more important? If the agents and publishers don't weed out the bad books, does the critic perform that function as people turn to them to decide what they should read. Somehow I don't see critics becoming the new editors.
So when the publishing industry is called Amazon, how will it keep up the quality of the books we enjoy and when we finally submit our manuscripts, how will it help us to get the beautiful, insightful, profound masterpiece that each of us is working on, onto the shelves or Kindles where they belong?