Today I’m going to answer another reader question (this reader happens to be a client of mine, so I know her work quite well).  Many would-be published authors have this question in one form or another.

I myself have had it, found it a challenge to my confidence and motivation to persist, but overcame the doubts and wrote the book.

Q: Susan, help!  I was reading the latest Locus magazine. The editor was decrying the increasing number of self-published books. She said it resulted in a lot more books for editors and reviewers to go through, and a lot of these books are bad. Then she said that the biggest growth was in YA future dystopian books, and there are way too many and way too many bad ones.  As you know, that subject ‘s a lot like what I had in mind. Gulp.

A: Okay, before we panic, let’s take this apart. I just skimmed the online version of Locus and didn’t notice the comment you’re referring to. But I’ve read such remarks about other topics at various times.

  1. It sounds to me as though this editor was mainly talking about self-published books, which, with no professional feedback and editing, are often mediocre at best. Every wannabe can now publish just about anything, and while that has its positives, it can also result in some very bad books.  Even the blurbs about such books are unpolished and sometimes make me want to scream. Which is why some reviewers won’t look at self-published books.  So if you go that route, be prepared to find your own support systems and don’t count on the usual review outlets.
  2. When someone says that the “biggest growth” in something is whatever, that could mean that there were barely any or none before this. It’s not a familiar form to me, and I read a lot (but not much YA).
  3. Important:  No one general comment has any necessary validity to any one particular writer (i.e., you).

My advice: Try not to let this comment bother you, keep writing, and finish a full draft of something so it can then be revised and polished to a high gloss.  Then worry about publishing. Whatever happens, you will learn a lot. I don’t think you’re going to be one of the “bad ones.”