“Award Winning” Malarkey
I feel the need to vent a bit about the use of “award winning” and “best selling” by too many self-published authors of fiction.
I ran across one such author this morning, where I don’t remember. I saw her self-description as “award winning” and investigated. Turns out her first novel had been deemed “best of 2010” by the readers of one eBook review website. I read the “rules” of the site and learned that any reviewer who couldn’t rate the novel better than 3 simply returned the novel without any review. This, it seems, is tantamount to to saying “if you think this book sucks, we don’t want to hear about it.” Well, I read an excerpt. I’m not talking.
Same for the abuse of “best selling.” I don’t want to hear about Amazon’s many categories and subcategories, each of which have their own rankings. Or the small indie eBook sites that designate their own “best sellers.” The bottom line is the same. Too many “best sellers” really aren’t.
I remember many years ago going to a supermarket with my mother. She was buying some household cleaner product or peanut butter or something, and one of the packages said “new and improved!” on it – maybe there were TWO!! exclamation points. I asked her what made it “new and improved!” She said, “the package is new and improved.”
That’s what this is. Packaging. Phony packaging.
Even the New York Times Bestseller List suffers its own peculiar brand of artifice. When you ask an entire industry of publishing professional how the NYT defines a bestseller and none of them can give you the same definitive answer, you have to suspect something is rigged. When a novel appears on the list and is on the bargain table two months later, you just know it.
None of this is good for publishing. When we have to fight through bullshit coming from the NEW AND IMPROVED! author himself – the old adage about judging a book by its cover assumes a deeper meaning.
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