So recently author Mark Dawson, you know the fellow out of the UK who wrote such books as The Cleaner and more…
Well he ran into some controversy when it was reported that in order to hit the bestsellers list, he purchased a large amount of his own books. Doing so made him reach nearly the top ten on the bestsellers list, according to The Guardian.
That leads to the question, are there and should there be rules that level the playing field for all authors when it comes to how books make it onto the bestsellers lists?
If there were such rules to crack down on writers, publishers and authors who have the clout to gain footing much faster by their money and networks to buy in such bulk that they leap to number one on the charts without any real readers’ purchases and great reviews, the literary market wouldn’t be a slanted as it already is – promoting books that are backed by the money, not necessarily great story telling.
In today’s market with a wider variety of authors with fantastic works of art, many find they are hard pressed to reach their goals, and one of these reasons is because of what they call the “cheating literary system”, where big dollar publishers buy spots instead of earning spots at the top of the charts. Also, big publishers can grab the attention of media much quicker because of connections and that falls back on, once again, dollars.
Sure, marketing is a dog eat dog tactic, but should it make books false bestsellers in order to trick the general public who are influenced by a list that is supposed to be reliable but actually unreliable?
Meanwhile, great books that may have won that best sellers list aren’t even given a second glance, not because the books aren’t well written and have great stories, but because the novice or independent author doesn’t have the backing of clout.
Does the literary market need to become more reliable and less sold out to a system that caters to the wealthy and/or able to falsify readership and books sold?
Some say yes. Sure, what Mark Dawson did is perfectly legit. It doesn’t break any laws or regulations to hit “the list”, so maybe the list should be tossed, especially if it isn’t reliable at all and can be influenced by just an author and his bulk buy.
Some say no. Sure, Mark Dawson and others did what they did buy fudging their own numbers to make it appear that their stories outshine the rest, however, isn’t it up to the reader to not be as easily influenced?
Maybe readers should simply read what seems interesting, even from independent authors, and not leap just because it’s number one due to the fact that they really never know how it got to number one in the first place. Actually, maybe readers should canvas the stories in the top one thousand or two thousands on down to support new faces and new stories besides the ones seemingly always at number one.