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Michelle's corner

Michelle Knight. Writer, photographer, programmer, truck driver and general, all round nut case. Life is a journey and that's what this blog will probably end up being. Let's see where we go, eh? ;-)

Currently reading

Science and Philosophy in the Indian Buddhist Classics
Dalai Lama XIV, Ian Coghlan
Progress: 23/433 pages

This is what 200 destroyed books looks like


Let's be clear about a few things before we start...


1) I'm not giving up as an author. I have more books in me and I'm just coming out of a very long depression. The desire to write is still within me and I expect to pick up my laptop again some time in the next few months. The only question is... which book to write.


2) These books were never going to be read. They've been unsellable and occupying space in my house for years. It's taken me all morning to slice the hard covers off, and now it should be easier to separate the thin paper from the spines. They are here because I know that sometimes, a picture is worth a gazillion words and can evoke strong emotions in a heartbeat... and for those who care about books, I can almost feel the blood trickling from their eyes as their pulses rise and their jaws clasp in anger.


3) I'm not seeking fame. I've seen enough of what fame has done to people over the last few years. The disaster stories have been plastered all over social media and the truth is that no matter who you are, no matter what you say, do, write or anything, there will always be haters out there.


4) I believe that some wonderful gems of authors are out there, and they are being missed because the book world is so skewed that it's unreal. No, I don't count myself among them. I've got a long way to go as an author. As I've said before on this very channel, it's my job to write something that good enough for people to want to read.


5) On my fridge door is the following magnet...



I believe that we need new channels of discovery. There are some, but they've been a patchwork and some have failed. Goodreads was borged by Amazon ... it's not as if Bezos needs the money, he brings in so much from his web services that one tech pundit described Amazon as a tat bazaar that was tagged on the side of his empire. Yet the corporate entity is a consumer censorship disaster.


It has been a rough ride for Amazon who have been censoring books which are perfectly legal in various countries. Whichever side of the fence you're on, having the law trumped by corporate decision making undermines democratic society. Every retailer has the right to choose what stock they will and will not carry, but when that extends to owning the sites that review books and controlling the income of reviewers that rely on affiliate income to pay the bills... how are you going to know that you're being censored if you don't even know that a book exists?


And to be so censored by a company that is perfectly willing to ban a book for having too many hyphens? https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2014/dec/18/amazon-book-hyphens-graeme-reynolds-high-moor-2-moonstruck


The New York Times Bestseller list which was formally established in 1931 has nine controversies listed on Wiki... six of those are in the last seven years - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_New_York_Times_Best_Seller_list#Controversies

...and criticisms abound - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_New_York_Times_Best_Seller_list#Criticisms


Not least, this one -


"Fast sales. A book that never makes the list can actually outsell books on the best-seller list. This is because the best-seller list reflects sales in a given week, not total sales. Thus, one book may sell heavily in a given week, making the list, while another may sell at a slower pace, never making the list, but selling more copies over time."


There have been independent attempts to serve the readership, BookLikes is one. Others have closed their doors, including IndieBookDiscovery.  Many of what's left have been swallowed by commercial interests and either destroyed or twisted behind the scenes.


So where do we go from here? In my personal opinion, libraries should have a corner for local authors. Waterstones did have such a program but it seems to have gone to the way side; at least I had no joy trying to track it down and engage with them on it.


I only know now, that I'm writing for me. The last few years have knocked a few corners off the old block and I've learned a lot; but I have more to learn and I suspect that Norman Lovett's assessment of me will turn out to be true, "You'll be famous when you're dead."