From Self-Publishing Review:
Recently, the debate has arisen again about genre vs. literary self-publishing (as if there’s some kind of war between the two).
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So, it’s apparently joyful that people might not read literary fiction. And somehow reading well-crafted sentences doesn’t take you away from the real world. Good writing takes you out of the real world – whether it’s a space opera or a family drama. That’s what it is to read a book.
This is why literary writers are reticent about dipping their toes into self-publishing. Because the culture of self-publishing is stupid. Not always, but very often.
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Before you call me a snob, I mainly write genre fiction. Weird genre fiction, but books where people are murdered and planets are decimated. Not quiet stories about relationships. But it doesn’t make sense to me to denigrate literary writing, any more than it makes sense for literary writers to denigrate genre. I get that genre fiction writers have been sneered at over the years, so they’re sneering back. But it actually helps out all writers if literary authors are welcomed into the fold. Ironically, self-publishers are acting like a kind of gatekeeper saying: you don’t belong here.
The world of self-publishing seems awfully stuck in a mindset like bad reactionary politics – in which everything is black and white. Genre good, literary bad. Traditional publishing bad, self-publishing good.
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All this aside, the reason literary fiction hasn’t been adopted as quickly is because literary writers need bookstore distribution more than genre writers do. Genre writers are much more likely to buy books on the Kindle. You might need to pick up a literary novel and read through it – not just the first 20 pages to see if there’s an action scene hook in the first few pages.
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Literary books are also more of an object to be owned than a lot of genre books – and because literary books are harder to read (not boring, more challenging), it makes sense to be able to see well-considered reviews from reputable sources. And though self-publishers might not want to admit it, readers don’t make the best gatekeepers.
Link to the rest at Self-Publishing Review