Our Growth Last Year will Ensure our Future Success as we Help Fight the Arrogant Literary Elite




           


Posted by Webmaster
A new year has begun, and our shared interest in reading and writing continues. Some writers have used TheLiteraryNet.com to promote their writing, while some readers have used this website to find good books by independent authors to read. Throughout 2016 a lot of work was done on this website, with old features modified and new features added. Changes were made to advance the website towards our goal of making it the premier Internet social network for book lovers.

Our book catalog grew substantially in 2016. We post the books of members in the Books section to help generate interest in their books, and hopefully increase the amount of sales for our member-authors. At the beginning of 2016, there were approximately 170 books in the catalog. However, as a result of the growing interest in the TheLiteraryNet.com, the catalog grew by 906 books, and contains 1,076 as of the writing of this essay. We expect the catalog to continue to grow in 2017, and we are grateful for the member-authors who have utilized the free services on this website to bring attention to themselves and their writing.

The growth of this website is shown by its Alexa rankings. Alexa is a company owned by Amazon.com that tracks Internet traffic, and how many visits websites receive from people using the Internet. On January 1, 2016, TheLiteraryNet.com, did not rank in the United States according to Alexa because it did not receive enough Internet traffic. However, its three month ranking hovered around 10 million, meaning approximately 10 million other websites received more visitors than this website. But within a year, our traffic has increased dramatically. As of January 1, 2017, the Alexa ranking for this website said that only 110,000 websites in the United States ranked higher than this website, and approximately 589,000 websites in the world received more traffic than TheLiteraryNet.com. That is a dramatic improvement, and we hope to continue that progress. We hope that by the end of 2017, we will rank within the top 100,000 websites in the world. With your participation and support, we can accomplish that goal.

Arrogance is Abundant in the Literary Industry
This website was created to empower independent authors and literary professionals who operate outside of the mainstream publishing industry. As a self-published author, I know the struggle in trying to get your book published after spending months and years perfecting your story. You can be convinced that you have written a good story, which has been confirmed by honest people who have read it, yet you are unable to get it published because editors, publishers, etc. deem it unworthy of publication because they do not view it as being commercially viable. People who are not true writers will be discouraged and give up. However, those of us who are the opposite of that will either continuing trying to get others to publish our book, or self-publish our book without the help of the mainstream publishing industry.

Challenging the arrogance and pompous nature of the mainstream publishing industry is the motivating force behind this website. There are people operating within the mainstream publishing industry, including authors lucky to have been endorsed by the system, who look down upon the self-publishing industry and those who use it. One such author is Laurie Gough. She recently wrote an article for the Huffington Post entitled >”Self-Publishing: An Insult To The Written Word”, in which she made it clear that she has a low opinion of authors who self-publish their work.

In her opinion, self-published authors lack talent and are destroying the literary realm. The sole determinants of what constitutes a good book are “the gatekeepers of agents, publishers, editors, national and international reviewers.” Without their endorsement, readers will neither buy nor respect a book. Gough presupposes that the “apprenticeships” she deems necessary to become a good writer only includes seeking acceptance by the mainstream publishing industry, and getting rejected. She seems to assume that formal training in creative writing is useless. Self-publishing is unprofessional and worthless because “it requires zero gatekeepers. From what I’ve seen of it, self-publishing is an insult to the written word, the craft of writing, and the tradition of literature.”

There is an exaggerated sense of self-importance in how Gough thinks. She falsely believes that the only similarities “between published and self-published books is they each have words on pages inside a cover,” as if there are no good self-published books. Or that some people choose to self-publish because they are confident in their abilities, produce good books, and do not want to waste time seeking acceptance from the mainstream publishing industry because it does not represent their target audience. Furthermore, her arrogance is exhibited by her comment that “every single self-published book I’ve tried to read has shown me exactly why the person had to resort to self-publishing. These people haven’t taken the decade, or in many cases even six months, to learn the very basics of writing.” Instead of bashing an entire industry and those who support it, maybe she should try to figure out why she attracts people she considers to be bad writers.

TheLiteraryNet.com exists to help the “little guy.” We do not believe that the literary elite should be solely responsible for deciding whose books get published. Those working in the mainstream publishing industry often have ulterior motives for publishing certain books, and the overriding theme through the decisions they make is money. They publish what they believe they can make money from, but that does not mean their decisions are always correct.

There are many great books written by good writers who have not been endorsed by the mainstream publishing industry. And despite what Laura Gough thinks, that does not mean they are bad writers. They may have encountered literary professionals who felt they could not sell the author’s book despite its merits, or they may have chosen to avoid the mainstream publishing industry because they would rather expend their energy promoting their work to their target audience, as opposed to using it to seek acceptance from the literary elite.

If a self-published book lacks merit, people will not buy it, and it will receive bad reviews. In a free-market economy, that is how the system works. When an elite few are able to determine what products will be made available to the masses, the system is more akin to a communist society than one that is democratic. Is that what Gough is advocating? Allowing an establishment of literary professionals to control who gets published is dangerous because it is an attempt to manipulate the minds of the masses.

There are many gifted writers in the world, and there are few opportunities for them to be published through the mainstream publishing industry. That makes self-publishing a necessity. Otherwise, the establishment will be able to dictate what voices are heard through literary publishing, which will silence those they disagree with. The literary industry is already overwhelmingly White ”Why Publishing Is So White”. If self-published books are viewed as subpar and lacking quality, the already White publishing industry will only publish the few minority voices they deem acceptable, which will inevitably hinder the progress and growth of the literary industry. Literature should challenge norms and express views that many disagree with. Additionally, aside from race issues, allowing a limited few to determine which books are published will silence the diverse array of views on the many different areas of human activity.

The irony of Gough’s comments is that when checking her book sales on Amazon.com, it becomes obvious that her books are not bestsellers, and that it does not appear she sells enough books to make a living from them; there are self-published authors who make enough to support their lifestyles. Thus, the question is whether someone should seek acceptance by the mainstream publishing industry just so they can say they have been published by a mainstream publisher, or should they self-publish their books, receive a larger share of book royalties, and build a genuine and devoted following?


TheLiteraryNet.com is Needed and Provides a Valuable Service
The reason why I discussed Laurie Gough’s comments is because they reflect the reason why TheLiteraryNet.com was created. This website provides an avenue for unsigned authors to promote their work for free. They do not have to waste time seeking acceptance from the mainstream publishing industry that may never be interested in their book, and is guided by profit motives. Unsigned authors can use their energy to cultivate a dedicated following of people who like their writing, which can generate sales of which the authors will receive a larger share of the profits than they would if they signed with a mainstream publishing company.

The market should determine whether a book is worthy of being published, not an elite few working in an industry that overwhelmingly represents a particular segment of the population. Not only does this website serve as a forum for individual authors, but it can be used as a tool for authors to create a market for their books. People working within the mainstream publishing industry choose books to publish based on their subjective view of the marketplace and whether they believe the book can be sold or not. However, a motivated author can use this website to discuss the issues and topics present in their book, target interested parties to share ideas with them, and build the type of market that had not previously existed, which will result in increased book sales. Authors who self-publish their books should continue to self-publish, and authors who want their books published and encounter resistance from the mainstream publishing industry should also self-publish. Both types of authors should use TheLiteraryNet.com to help them achieve their goals.

We have built, and continue to build a literary social networking website because we believe that every writer should have the opportunity to publicize their work. They should also be able to meet people who can help them in their endeavors, and vice versa. These opportunities should not be confined to people operating within the mainstream literary industry, but available to everyone who has an interest in literature. The services we provide at TheLiteraryNet.com are intended to serve that purpose.


All literary enthusiasts should use this website to benefit their literary careers. We are here to assist self-publishers. And despite the lack of faith that some have in those who self-publish their books, people operating outside of the mainstream publishing industry should not be dissuaded. They should continue to publish their writing however they can, and together we can all succeed. Although our modification and implementation of different features on this website has contributed to our success, a large part of our growth is the result of the continued support of our members and other literary enthusiasts.

With your support, TheLiteraryNet.com will continue to grow and become the premier social network on the Internet for literary enthusiasts. We expect that the arrogant literary elite will become our enemies because we seek to change the literary industry. However, we do not care because we exist to help the little people so that they can create markets for their writing and literary businesses, thereby expanding and diversifying the literary industry.



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