Not long ago, a fellow writer lamented the lack of quality books available either traditionally published or indie. Personally, I believe that person has become a little too critical, but I also believe the quality of writing has steadily declined over the years. I will try to explain what I mean.
Years ago, when there were many publishing houses, the competition for quality writing was extremely high. Not only did the story have to be nearly perfect just to be accepted, the publishers had an army of editors who would help the authors polish their work to an even higher standard. Obviously, the idea being the best books got the best reviews, sell the most copies, and make the most money for the publisher.
With the advent of e-books and self- publishing, it feels like the emphasis has shifted from quality to quantity. Where before, the expectation for the author was to sell a large number of one quality book, the reality now is the hope to sell a mediocre number of many different books. Profits have dropped, forcing the publishing houses to reduce the number of editors, yet increase the number of books. The small number of editors no longer have the time to ensure the quality of the books being offered.
Some self-published authors understand that to have any success, they have to make sure their stories are at the highest level of quality and will hire several different editors to help that happen. Unfortunately, without a large advertising budget, these authors are hard to find. The only thing on their side is time and word of mouth.
The other problem I see is with the ability of the average reader. It's a sad fact that reading comprehension has been on the decline. The last report I read claimed the majority of high school graduates are functionally illiterate. This is reinforced by the fact that most popular books are written at a lower grade level than ever before.
Having decided to become a writer myself and learn the proper mechanics for creating a quality story, it's easy to spot many of the mistakes made in today's books. However, as someone who is more interested in story telling than perfect grammar, I can forgive a multitude of errors if the story pulls me in and takes me for a ride.
Whether this is a bad thing, I have no idea. I'm certainly no expert, and these are just some of my observations. I would love to hear your thoughts or opinions on the subject.
Thanks for reading.