White Noise

Posted: January 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

What the hell are we doing?


Everybody’s got an ezine, an online magazine. Everybody’s chasing that dream of doing something great and wonderful and worthwhile. Everybody’s going to write the Great American Novel.


Except that… they’re not.


Not everybody is going to write a novel that will go around the world. Not everybody will produce an ezine that will survive longer than five years. Not everybody will become a publisher whose novels will saturate the earth with words like rain.


But we do it anyway, don’t we? Why?


One reason is the simplicity of doing any of this at all. It’s easy—so incredibly easy—all this self-publishing and starting up ezines. So incredibly easy these days. The ease transitions the masses into the sheer volume of self-published ezines and novels until a tsunami-wave of words rises high enough to topple even the most prodigious of publishing houses. The noise becomes a cacophony of “Support me!” and “BUY MY BOOK!” and “JOIN MY LINKED-IN.COM!” and a host of other pleas.


“Please support us at Preditors and Editors poll!”


“Please recommend me for a Bram Stoker!”


“Please read my ezine!”


“Please befriend me at Facebook!”


“Please read my story at Smashwords! If you won’t buy it, that’s okay because I’ll give it away for free. Just read me, please, for the love of God read my story! Tell me you love me! Just read the words of my soul and turn the pages of my mind, and I’ll be so incredibly happy that I could just die.”


But we can’t devote all of our attention to all the white-noise. Speed-readers call it the “word blizzard,” those unread emails, those extra briefings and notes at work we neglect because there isn’t enough time in the day to actually read them all. We begin ignoring the pleas to read the new ezines and books and stories. Because all the white noise has become a true cacophony, entailing everything that the definition of the word means.


It’s a true cacophony out there. Nothing but white-noise.


And all this white-noise (all these blogs and ezines and anthologies from all the masses of writers who can so easily set up a new website that will disappear in two years)… all this white noise numbs the senses, tears down the sales of the big-boy publishers so that traditional publishing houses that have been around since the 1800s are falling off the face of the earth, going bankrupt, ceasing to exist. Laying off copyeditors and editors. Downsizing and shrinking like cancer bombarded by the radiation of chemotherapy.


All this is happening because of the white-noise. All this is happening because there is the transition of power from the echelons at the top of the business pyramid (major publishers) shifting to the Bottom of the Pyramid or BOP’s control (small-press publishers and Amzon.com).


When one brings about a new voice, a new style or new type of monster (Novus Creatura), that voice is lost in the cacophony of voices. Even when that voice screams, the sound is lost in the white-noise-silence that numbs the world, that constant drone that becomes the sound of silence crafted out of screaming promotionals and advertisements, until only numbing silence remains. Until a void is created. And that void grows into the lack of sales, and that lack of sales makes new publishers of ezines fold and fail after one or two years.


But there are other publishers out there that do not crack, that do not fold or fail to bring readers the best copyedited fiction, to bring new stories and voices to the masses. And despite those masses being hypnotized by the white-noise of the BOP, they continue to produce quality fiction day-in and day-out.





  1. I am guilty of this white noise. Especially recently with the Preditors and Editors Poll out. But, I wonder how much it is really hurting anyone. I am certainly not making a lot of money by saying “Go read my story…. Please.”

    I think traditional may be on the way out. It is time for a change.

    Form letter rejections, that offer no hope of an idea how the author did. Pro publishers that stick with all the same names, while saying they would love to hear from new authors. Response times of up to year to hear back on a simply query or short story, only to get a simple “Thanks but no thanks.”

    All this, coupled with the easy ability to do it ourselves, has caused writers to think: Why bother? Why wasted years in queries, when I can have readers now? And, we authors write because we want readers. Sure, we’d all love to make some money doing it, but most of all we just want someone to read us.

    And, if you are going to do it yourself, you need to promote that. And that means standing on a soap box and yelling “READ ME PLEASE!”

    There are many good publications out there. You certainly have a good one here. And, I mean both it the quality of stories and the treatment of all writers (and submitters). I got my first rejection letter here, and it wasn’t a form letter. It had something to tell me about why I got a no response. It was three sentences, but it makes an writer feel like someone took the time.

    I personally plan to keep sending my short works to the magazines that are out there, I don’t intend to self publish them. With the Novel I am writing, I haven’t decided. But, even when I am published traditionally you can count on me yelling out “Read me!” because after all, I just want to tell my stories to someone.

  2. I’m not against writers working on their craft, believing in themselves and shouting out, “Read me!” What bothers me somewhat is the sheer amount of ezines, publications and small-press venues that crop up like blades of grass within the cracks of the sidewalk. In two years, most those publications will wither and go away. But in the meantime, amidst all the “white-noise,” it is difficult to stand out, to be heart, within this din of “read me.”

    Writers add to the “read me” cacophony. At the same time, writers like Amanda Hocking prove that self-promotion works, as do reviews from well-known book reviewers. I am not against writers promoting themselves. I am not against small-press publishers or new ezines. What I am against are newbies starting up new ventures, newbies who will drop out of the game in less than two years time.

    If you’re going to publish the stories and poems of other people, you owe it to them (if not yourself) to stick with it until the very end. But that’s the problem: it is SO easy creating a website that newbies think they’re a publisher just by buying a domain name and accepting submissions.

    Nothing could be further from the truth.

    What this blog post really is about are the thousands upon thousands of publishers and writers who are putting out books and publications before they’re ready, before they’ve copyedited, before they’ve been fine-tuned. Not only do they give “small-press” a bad name, but they hurt themselves and add to the “white noise” that we all must endure. Because it is quite impossible to be heard over the white-noise. Much of the white-noise could be cleared up by both writers and publishers taking their time, moving slower, and putting out better and more polished product. The requirements of publishing anything requires more than a hosting service, domain name and blog; it requires hard work, endless promotion (adding to the white-noise), and tons of headache that make most small-press publishers give up after two years.

    If those who are going to give up after two years would just NOT get involved, the white-noise would dissipate. And those who are NOT going to give up (like Liquid Imaginaiton) would be able to make more headway.

    I guess this blog was me pouting, because it’s very tough to make headway when a third of all writers in the world seem to be new editors creating new online magazines that will fill cyberspace with white-noise. Talk about feeling like a salmon swimming upstream! lol!

  3. I better understand where you are coming from now. There are certainly two types of self published author. One takes it seriously and understands that by doing it themselves they have to do it all themselves. Right down to the editing. There is the other, those that are just looking to get as many works out there as possible.

    But, I think this is more about the publications side, not the writer side.

    As a submitter to ezines and publications, it can be a challenge as well. I don’t want my works published by a fly by night company. I want to see my works paired with other quality works. So it requires a lot of research on the part of the writer at times. We all know the reputable big names (i.e. Fantasy and Science Fiction, IGMS, and so on), but when those are exhausted the waters become murky at best.

    This certainly takes time away from the writer, who has to research the quality of this ezine. I read the stories they published, and I cross checked it with the editors names. There are some out there that are putting up the ezine front and then only publishing their own works. There are others who’s works are obviously not the quality I want my work partnered with.

    This is especially scary when it come to new writers. I was really worried about where I sent my stories. No writer wants a bad publishing credit.

    I don’t think Liquid Imagination has anything to worry about. You publish high quality stories, that appeal to a wider market, with a unique adaptation all your own. And, you offer some compensation to the writer for their story.

    Take a look at that Preditors and Editors Poll’s current standings in Short Science Fiction. You have two stories listed on there, and both are in the Top 10 (one is currently in first place). Those results may not be final, yet but it says something about the quality of work you publish. And, Tooth and Claw, the anthology, is in at 11th. Readers like what they read on Liquid Imagination.

    Finally, all us authors that keep saying “READ ME PLEASE.” Have to say “READ ME PLEASE ON LIQUID IMAGINATION.” So I only hope that is bringing you some traffic too.

    Remember: Salmon swim upstream because if they didn’t they would go extinct. The journey is tough, but it sure beats extinction.

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