Gatekeepers and why we need them.

Posted on 03/27/2011


You all know what a proponent of gate keeping I am. In regard to books, I will always be a fan of gatekeepers. Whether it be literary agents, editors, etc.  Now that more and more folks can e-publish their books, so many people are decrying the “publishing machine” and it’s ability to keep all these great writers out of from publishing.  These people sing from the rooftops that “NOW THE WRITING WILL BE THE NUMBER ONE THING!”


Yeah, you heard me right. To all of you who say to me that now books will be judged by the readers on whether or not they’re worthy of being a bestseller, not some snooty NY literary agent (of which, I know personally are NOT snooty) or some 20 year female editor who knows next to shit about your Marine protagonist.  I say to you, you’re thinking about this all wrong.  And I’ve already seen the first steps toward the new gatekeepers.

Let me be clear, I have some really good ideas for the future of gatekeepers, which I have spelled out in earlier posts. (Hint: it has to do with paying a price for a Seal of Approval) I don’t know how it’s going to shape out or up, but it will–and here’s why:

There are too many people who think they can write a damn book and not enough readers.

That is the inherent problem.  And it’s already started. I saw a person on a blog site in the comments say how they are sick of downloading some .99 book and reading crap with in the first 10 pages. One person even said they want a way to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff.

To all of you who say, “THE READERS WILL DETERMINE WHO THE BESTSELLERS ARE!!”  Bullshit. Absolute bullshit.  Keep reading.

Now that anyone can publish their book online, you’re going to get flooded with pure, peanutty, stinky shit. Remember two things: there are a lot of people out there who just want to put a book out and don’t care whether or not they can actually write a book, and there are those out there who actually think they are really a great writer, when in truth, they blow chunks.  THOSE TWO GROUPS VASTLY OUT NUMBER THE GROUP OF ACTUAL GOOD WRITERS.

So, you say (with your arms folded, of course), “Well then the cream will rise to the top.”



How are you going to find those TWO PERCENT good books? Huh? Not bloody likely. No one will ever have enough time to read all those books–ever.

So guess what? Either we’ll get used to a suckier level of writing, or we’ll stop reading books because it’s too hard to tell the good one from the bad.

Let me put it to you this way, I have a Kindle now, and have been sampling the wares of the ebook publishing folks.  A lot of them. I can tell they weren’t vetted by a publishing professional.

Is that fair for me to think of them that way? Sure it is. I know they haven’t been through the ringer like a traditionally published book has, but damn it, I want some level of quality.  There are not just typos but basic issues that a normal editor (hell even my lame ass) could have found.

Sure, I’ve read some shit books published by NY, but there was still a base f**king level of quality to them.

Don’t get me wrong, I am still going to sample some self-pubbed ebooks, why not? If I don’t like them, it’s only a buck or so.  But it just furthers my argument that there must still be gatekeepers. I for one don’t have endless time to hunt and peck through all the chaff. I really want someone to do it for me.  Sure, I may miss out an occassional nugget of gold, but I’ll take that for the overall bounty of books I can get when I know they’ve been through the machine and not just through some person’s spell check on their word processor.

What say you, O readers of mine?




Posted in: Ebooks, Writing