The “Shit Volcano” Will End

More good rants about the self pub slushy mess. But does it even matter? There are thirty million guitar players in America but who’s complaining about that? Oh no, there are too many books, I can’t find anything to read? Suck it up, people. Everything is vanity.

Maybe it won’t stop, or not anytime soon. Nearly all self-publishers are in it to make money, and Amazon is probably making money on it too – and if their goal is to corner the market, they’d have no interest in backing out of it. It’s not like a real gold rush where the gold runs out. This racket is based on illusion and hype, fed by the occasional breakout story that makes every writer feel like a potential lottery winner. What makes the volcano “shit” is the same snobbiness about culture and taste and quality that’s always defined the publishing industry. The whining about typos and grammar and such is like complaints about how amateur porn has ruined that “industry”. Publishing has aways been more about money than artistic standards, which have always been more of a facade than substance, and self-publishing is no different in that regard. “Quality” writing has long been a loss leader, a show pony, the vanity of that game. It’s not where the money is. It’s not what most people really want.

Mike Cane’s xBlog

A lot of words spilled in two posts:

Slushy Glut Slog: Why The Self-Publishing Shit Volcano Is A Problem — which the people who are the problem will never think they’re the problem.

Why the self-publishing shit volcano isn’t going to stop erupting any time soon — which the people who are the problem will never read to the end because they can’t understand it.

The glut is something I’ve raised in past posts that I am now too damn lazy to look up because fuck it.

But I do want to go on record — again, because I’ve done it before but only on Twitter — about how I see the “shit volcano” ending.

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4 thoughts on “The “Shit Volcano” Will End

  1. Hi Tom

    I can’t get that exercised about the “shit volcano” either – although some people clearly are very, very exercised about it (and seem to be responding with little volcanic eruptions of their own). But for me, self-publishing is a lot like democracy. Most of the time, the end results fall a long way short of what we’d like it to be. Worse still, democracy also means that lots of people with views I strongly disagree with get to go around airing them and generally irritating the hell out of me (it’s so unreasonable of them). But despite its many, many imperfections, overall, it’s still an improvement on what typically passed for good governance before we had it (where the best that could be hoped for was usually some form of enlightened dictatorship).

    Anyway, I’m sure people can work out the self-publishing analogy here without me spelling it out for them – I just wanted to add my little rivulet of lava to the debate….



    • I like your democracy analogy even better than my amateur porn one, which I thought was oh so clever! I do sympathize sometimes with the shit volcano whiners, especially when it comes to finding stuff to read on Smashwords – as Heraclitus is reported to have said, one has to dig through a lot of earth to find a little gold – but this is getting ridiculous. The site is just so full of billionaire spankers and babysitting wankers! I wish more people would just be able to stumble upon great stuff (like The Free Indie Reader) but I’m afraid it’s slowed to a crawl – only 750 or so downloads after 40 days now on the 4 sites carrying it. We have to rely more and more on people like the publisher of The Philistine Press. Speaking of that, I wasn’t a fan of The Hole in the Wall. Something about it bothered me. I think it might have been the names as much as anything. Treasure? I would like to find some more treasures though. I haven’t been able to sink into a book in several weeks now. Nothing seems to resonate. I’ll start out liking something a lot (re-reading The Day of the Locust, for example) but then letting it slide. For a reading addict, these slumps are the worst!


      • I don’t think you should be too downcast about Free Indie Reader – 750 downloads is not nothing (for a start, it’s 750 more than I would have got relying entirely on my own efforts !). So thanks again for going to the trouble of collating, publishing and promoting it. Also, I think these things sometimes take time to establish themselves – and whilst it is frustrating that active marketing doesn’t often seem to pay dividends, at least the book is always available (unlike a bookstore where it only has a limited time in which to prove itself, before being taken off the shelves).

        If I am honest, I have been a bit disappointed that my own attempt to promote free fiction on my site (which is very similar to what you’ve been doing for some time before I even started) doesn’t seem to have generated more in the way of visitors. You would have thought that, given the obvious problems with sorting the wheat from the chaff, there would be more interest in that sort of thing. But to date, I’ve actually only done 20 reviews of free fiction – which is not a huge number in the scheme of things. So I’m carrying on with it in the hope that things will gradually improve.

        When I bought the domain name, I paid for 5 years – and told myself that, if I didn’t seem to have made any meaningful progress in that time, I would probably throw in the towel at that point. That was in mid-2011, which means I am almost half way through. Not having set any actual targets as to what meaningful progress would actually look like, however, I am able to say: “Rejoice, Comrades, in the stunning success of the half-way anniversary of the 5 Year Literary Plan!”


      • Yep, it’s a long tail all right. I’m always surprised that my own ebooks are still being downloaded at a steady rate. How do people even find them these days? I have no idea. I figured they’d all be buried under the avalanche by now. Same with the Reader. It’s still percolating away and most likely will continue to. I haven’t been finding much else, though. Browsing Smashwords and Feedbooks seems to be more frustrating than it was a couple of years ago. I’m keeping tabs on the whole self-publishing thing hoping to come across new access points. The Bookarma thing was disappointing. The selection of tweetable ebooks was pretty sad. I’m sure some better models are bound to come up – innovations that will seem obvious in retrospect, like RingBlingz – these crappy little rings for teenage girls that light up when they get text messages on their phone – doh! My previous company [Jawbone] was all into wearable tech and they never even thought about the teen and tween markets.


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