Books – A Social Good!

Books – A Social Good!

The world of publishing has been turned on its head in the past decade. No longer do the big publishing houses have all the say; no longer do just a few elite writers have the opportunity to be published and no longer does the aspiring author have to wade through hundreds of rejection letters just to try and secure a literary agent, let alone a publisher. Technology has changed forever the ability of people to access the publishing process. Independent authors are indeed a rising force in the publishing game. Self-publishing is not only an option it is now a doable and achievable option for just about anyone. THIS IS A GOOD THING!

I’ve heard and read many opinions on this issue and the most common complaint I hear (especially from the entrenched “big name” authors) is that the self-publishing revolution has “dumbed down” the literary market. They suggest that the poor quality of writing, the poor quality of editing and the poor quality of the finished product destroys the very integrity of the published book. To this I say POPPYCOCK!


I have two absolutely inalienable beliefs about books:

  1. Reading is VITAL to good physical, mental and social development for every single person. and;
  2. There is no such thing as a BAD book.

Let me illustrate my first point. In this mad, rapidly changing, hectic, fast-paced world, our children are subjected to 90 percent visual stimuli; be it television, video games, computers or just their own observations. Visual stimulation is good, don’t get me wrong, but what it also is, is often passive. It doesn’t usually require, in general terms, our children to think, to imagine and to fantasize, but merely to react. Those functions are exactly what our children need from an early age to stimulate the parts of their brains that deal specifically with creativity.

I consider myself blessed in that I grew up at a time when all this visual stimulation was simply not available. What I learnt about the world, about people, about relationships and about ideas, I learnt from books. I had to use my mind to create the visual images that were written on the page. I am absolutely convinced that it was this early exposure to mental stimuli that made me into the writer I am today.

I am sure we all remember as children how books allowed us to escape our boredom and transport ourselves to exciting, fantasy worlds of adventure and deering-do. It was an absolute joy and a treasure. It does concern me that many of our children are missing out on this amazing opportunity. My one advice to parents on this issue: Next birthday, next Christmas, just for a change give your child a book, instead of the latest game, the latest DVD or the latest subscription to XBox360 or whatever – in thirty years time that child will thank you.

Secondly, my construct that there is no such thing as a BAD book, I’m sure will have many people throwing their hands up in horror – yet I firmly do believe this.

What is a book?

To me, it is a collection of an individual’s ideas, their fantasies, their personal recollections or their perspective on an issue, or on life in general. I hold the belief that everyone’s opinions, ideas, dreams, ambitions, views, etc are not only valid, they are rightfully expressible. If they chose to use the medium of the written word to express them; then, I say, all power to them.

Sure, I may not agree with or in some cases I might totally disagree with what they write, but I do believe it is their inalienable right to do so, and the new publishing landscape now allows them the freedom to do just that. That is a GOOD thing.

The biggest objection made about self-publishing and independent authors is that they have flooded the market with poorly written, under-priced (says the big publishers), atrociously edited and sloppily presented books. There is some truth in that, I won’t deny it; but if as these elite authors contend these books are SO bad, as good free-enterprisers I’m sure they would agree that the market will find them out very quickly, and they will sell very few books – so why worry about them anyway.

What I have found personally is that yes, self-published and especially self-edited books can be full of errors and typos and indeed they can be frustrating, but I’ll use an example of one I read recently to show that it is not necessarily a bad thing.

This particular book was a first novel by a young, new author. I found numerous typos and misplaced words within the story which did somewhat frustrate the flow of reading his book, but you know what else I found in this book: I found insightful comment on the futility felt by many young people in today’s society; I found exciting, fascinating and incredibly colorful descriptive writing that immediately transported me to the places the writer wanted to take me; I found interesting and varied language that I enjoyed. Despite the errors, I enjoyed the book very much.
This writer has talent, this writer has something interesting and worthwhile to say – something we would never have had the opportunity to read if it wasn’t for the rise of self-publishing. I did review the book and I suggested the author re-edit the book and put it back on sale as a Second Edition – a very easy Picturething to do in this world of digital ebooks. I hope he takes my advice and I hope he continues writing because he has real ability with the written word.
The author’s name is Bodhi Alvarez and his novel is called; “Masturbating With Strangers”. If you are interested in reading my review of his book and maybe considering reading it for yourself, you can access it here: Masturbating with Strangers
This article is an abridged version of a much more expansive article on the topic. The full text of the original article can be found here: G Leishman – Author
Grant Leishman
I am an expatriate New Zealander living in Manila, The Philippines, with my wife and two step-daughters. At age 55, after careers in Finance and Journalism, I have finally discovered my true passion in life - writing and I am now truly "living the dream", writing full-time.

My first novel is a romantic fantasy about the return of Jesus Christ to modern day Manila to try and sort out the problems of the world - yet again! It was published in June 2015. My second novel "Just a Drop in the Ocean" is completed and should be published later in 2015. The sequel to "The Second Coming" - "The Rise of the AntiChrist" is now with the publishers. I am working on third and final book in the series "Holy War"
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  1. […] Books – A Social Good! The world of publishing has been turned on its head in the past decade. No longer do the big publishing houses have all the say; no  […]

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