Friday, April 4, 2008

What's in the offering?

It's funny what gets blowing in the wind.

Not long ago I began a discussion with some writers about issues and strengths within the publishing industry. I've also done a fair amount of reading publisher's blogs, and attending tele-seminars hosted by publishers.

It seems everywhere I turn there is a group discussing publishing. And many people are frustrated with one or more aspects of the process, or the product.

Not that the whole sheebang is going to pot. Not at all. On many fronts writing and publishing books is fantastical.

In this discussion we've been having here on the blog, as well as elsewhere, the question has come up often regarding the quality of writing that is being offered to the paying public.

Some people have pointed out that books are no longer aimed at intellectuals, or academics, but at the "masses". Not a statement of elitism, rather a comment on what the publishing industry is telling us is important to our culture.

How many times have you heard: If you want to get published fast, be famous first.

Ours is a culture of celebrity. We follow celebrities wherever they go. We know what toothpaste they use, where they party, and if they are, or are not wearing underwear.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out what a slippery slope we're on. We've begun to value mindless titillation over genuine substance. And the books that are out there are reflective of this decline.

Why? Because publishers what to keep the population unenlightened?

No.

Because publishers need to make money. And value has been placed on celebrity. That's where the money is.

Most books that have been published in the Christian markets that have been considered "controversial" have been Rob Bell's slick packaged much ado about nothing, and a few naval gazing Emergent Church guys. Donald Miller said he had trouble getting published because his work didn't fit with the existing macros that are out there (have you read Donald Miller? There's nothing at all controversial about him, he has plain old conservative evangelical theology, he just writes it differently).

So, where is original thought? Is in found in popular whiners like Dawkins? I don't think so. His form of hatred has been around for centuries. Is it found in the constantly re-released classics of yesteryear?

Or is it found in you? Or me? Do we hold the key to changing the direction our culture is facing?

2 comments:

The Koala Bear Writer said...

I found your comment that "Some people have pointed out that books are no longer aimed at intellectuals, or academics, but at the "masses"" rather ironical, as Dickens wrote for the masses of his time... and is now the intellectual college reading of our time.

Bonnie Grove said...

Hmmm. . . I wonder what this says about us?

Oh man, I think my brain just fell out of my left ear.