A. J. Liebling once said, “Freedom of the press is only guaranteed to those who own one.” Now we live in the age of the Internet, where anyone with a network connection owns a printing press. This is both a boon and a disaster.
A boon in the sense that information can be shared widely and rapidly. Indeed, there are those who would argue that it was the widespread availability of cheap copy machines. that brought down the Berlin wall, not Ronald Reagan.
It’s a disaster in that misinformation can be spread just as widely and rapidly. Even worse, it means that anybody who can type or dictate can write books. Self-publishing no longer requires vanity publishing houses, where authors had to foot the bill for having their works published: all you need now is a keyboard and a connection.
Internet Addiction: The first step is admitting you have a modem.
Sites like Goodreads and similar others are a good way of filtering out the dreck, but Kindle (Amazon) and Nook (Barnes & Noble) work on the profit model. Which means that they’ll publish almost anything you submit to them – be it dreck or a Pulitzer-worthy novel.
Far too many would-be authors don’t seem to know one of the basic requirements of writing a book: read lots of books! Indeed, from what I’ve seen on the Internet, I’d say many of them haven’t even read one book.
One of the many things I like about Medium is the way it exposes me to new authors and new ideas. That, in turn, sparks my own ideas. And it helps me improve my own writing.
It’s also why I blog, both here and elsewhere: I’m not afraid to open myself to the possibility of harsh criticism. It’s the only way to learn.