Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Can't We All Just Get Along?, or: Why Are They Always Picking On Indies?

We read today that a bunch of C grade midlist authors have formed a group called Top Suspense and are putting their backlists, and some current offerings, on Kindle and other electronic formats. The spokesman, Dave Zeltserman, said it's part of their effort, as "established" and "proven" authors, to offer "good" ebooks since so much of the ebook market is slush.

But, wait, don't take my word for it! From their press release:

"Electronic books are soon to be a billion dollar business, yet it's more difficult than ever to find a good read, especially via digital download. With more than 700,000 ebooks already on line, with a good number of them self-published, ebook stores are becoming the equivalent of publisher's past 'slush piles'. A newly-formed collaborative site called The Top Suspense Group plans to slash through all the clutter. will be offering readers one central site filled with exciting e-books, covering several genres and all at reasonable prices.

'Readers can count on us,' creator and acclaimed author Dave Zeltserman explains, 'Every member of our group has already made his or her mark on genre fiction, whether it's noir, crime, mystery, thriller, horror or Westerns, and in some cases, several of these genres.'

Authors aboard include Zeltserman, Max Allan Collins, Bill Crider, Ed Gorman, Vicki Hendricks, and Harry Shannon.

Zeltserman has spoken before about the difficulty readers have in searching for sites that offer seasoned professionals..."

Of course, this begs the question, Who the heck is Dave Zeltserman and what has he written that has been so widely acclaimed as we cannot think of a single title?, and reminds us that "widely acclaimed" also means "out-of-print due to lack of sales" but never mind. The fact that none of these folks, other than, say, Max Allan Collins, has sold enough books to even be somewhat known in the world (and only then because of Road to Perdition), shall not be mentioned or questioned, either, as it would be in bad taste to do so.

(A quick shout down the hall to Miss Zelda informs us that Mr. Zeltserman published his first book In His Shadow with a company called iUniverse, which Miss Zelda further informs us is a self-publishing company. Pot, meet kettle.)

We are inclined to let Top Suspense have their part of the sand box knowing they probably won't sell any more ebooks than they have paper books, which is why a lot of them are either out-of-print or have been working for Z list publishers for the last two decades, with two or three--notable, of course--exceptions, but we won't mention that as, again, it's in bad taste and we need not further muddy the already dirty water.

But seriously, folks, can't we all just get along? The ebook market may indeed have a lot of crap (and it does; Dave is not wrong, just an elitist snob) but to offer blanket statements that it's all garbage when a lot of "independent authors" (oh how we hate that PC feel-good term) are doing our best to release quality work--because we respect our audience--is wrong. It would be better for the Top Suspense team to say they are making their work available to take advantage of this new and exciting market. But, of course, that would be too easy, and these "established" and "proven" authors must, for some reason, attack those of us who are trying to slug it out in a tough market when in reality it is a waste of time and energy that these "established" and "proven" authors could better use, maybe, writing books, but, again, that would be too easy.

But we know how to waste time and energy in response. In fact, we wasted about a half hour writing this.

Good luck, guys.

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