June 24, 2012 in Dag

Enough already from those dead authors

I discovered something interesting this week.

I did a bit of a review of the traffic here at Dag-Lit Central and made a fascinating discovery. By a mile, the posts that get the most traffic are the ones where I whinge and complain and am generally grumpy. In contrast, the ones where I’m cheerful and happy don’t seem to do anywhere near as well.

So with that in mind, as much as I like being cheery and optimistic, I’ve decided I’m going to go back to grumpy mode and have a good old rant.

The subject of my rant is going to be dead authors.

Dead authors, I’ve totally had enough of you. Don’t get me wrong, I reckon you were fantastic when you were alive.  You wrote some of my all time favourite books and for that I’ll always cherish your memory. I just have one thing to say to you. Enough is enough. It’s time to stop writing new stuff.

You’d thing this wouldn’t be an issue. You would think that the state of being dead would be enough to put a pretty sizable dint in somebody’s writing career. But apparently that’s no longer the case. Being stuck in a coffin and buried six-feet under no longer seems to be the hindrance that it was.

Take Enid Blyton for instance. Now a lot of people seem to have it in for her, but I’ll always have pleasant memories of reading her books as a kid, and my children love them now. The thing is, there are now far more Enid Blyton books out there than there used to be, and some of them have suspiciously recent publication dates. You have to look pretty closely at the front cover to realise that it’s not actually Enid Blyton that is written there, it is Enid Blyton’s, with the apostrophe and s much smaller than the rest of the text. And, of course, there’s no other author listed on the cover. You have to look inside the book to see a “special thanks to…” in order to discover who actually wrote the book.

Now I don’t know about you but I reckon that’s a really sneaky trick the publishers are trying to put over us. Most book buyers wouldn’t look that closely, they’d just think, “Gosh there are another 25 stories in the Magic Faraway Tree series and 314 more Wishing Chair ones.” They wouldn’t expect that they were actually being swindled.

And how the hell are us new writers, you know the ones who are actually trying to come up with something new and original, meant to compete? It’s hard enough trying to make yourself seen as it is. But if the competition is a never ending stream of copy-cat work purporting to be from long-dead household names. Well it really gets my gander up.

That’s all for this week. Next week I may be a bit cheerier. But I doubt it. 

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