Charles Dickens? Wouldn’t Get A Single Book Published These Days

December 11, 2011

Dickens R.F.Wilson writes from London: I bet Charles Dickens would have had a tough time getting his books published these days. Probably would have died in obscurity, rejected by literary agents who now represent the publishers to make life easier for them.

I can just see some slimy looking individual telling Dickens: ‘Yeeees, looked at your Oliver Twist. Didn’t grab me, to be honest. The plot is not all that great. You could have made that kid Oliver a rent boy or make him bang his own sister or something, to make it all look more lifelike. But no, not one bouncy penis mentioned and no anal sex. Sorry mate, it’s not for my publishers, not commercial enough.’

Have you ever met any of these literary agents? I have and I can tell you that they are all creeps, every single one of them. I bet that they’ve never read a single proper book in their life. They probably wouldn’t even know what a good book is. What they look out for is controversy and filth that are considered commercial nowadays.  They turn down good writers if they don’t include enough swearing, explicit sex scenes or graphic violence into their works.

The whole publishing industry has turned against good writers. It’s all about profit now. Go to any large bookstore and check what they have on the bestsellers shelves. It’s all crap, yes, all of it. Useless cookery books, biographies and autobiographies of non-entities, hideous chick-lit books with clumsy pornography inserted into them – these chick-list can’t even describe a shag properly – thrillers without a decent plot, idiotic tales about bloodthirsty psychopaths and cannibals, absurd sex manuals, blatantly biased historical insights and countless children’s books about meaningless adventures of wizards and witches with not a single good message in them. Publishers of today will be crucified in the not so distant future for what they bringing out now. There must be a huge section in hell where they’ll be roasted, along with lawyers and bankers.

No one is saying that trash-lit titles were not published in the past. But the difference was that a large proportion of the reading public had enough taste to distinguish good books from bad. That was why most classical writers became bestselling authors during their lifetime. Most of the Dickens’s books were instant bestsellers in his time. Nowadays most of the people would not even be able to read his books. They would be too boring for them, too complicated and too unexciting. Not enough sex, not enough violence for their taste.

The tastes of the ‘reading public’ have become so low that second and third-rate authors become ‘living classics’ just because they land on the bestselling shelves. You open their books and you can see from page one that the authors struggle with stringing sentences together. Throbbing penises and slurping vaginas and F-words are introduced all over the place to lure the unsophisticated lot into reading on. But even the pornography does not really make any sense and is done with no imagination.

It is no secret that large bookstores are paid by publishers to place their titles on the bestsellers’ shelves. And yet people still fall for that trick and buy these books. Do they actually read them? I very much doubt it.

The most embarrassing part of it all is that ‘prestigious’ book awards have been turned into a joke, with models and celebrities invited to take part and make their choices, as if they had ever read anything in their lives about from glossy magazines. The system of giving prizes to mediocre authors is another way of selling books that no one reads.

So here’s the deal: if you’re buying a book, check if the author is still alive. If it’s the case, don’t waste your money. Better buy booze with it and have some fun.

– End –

  • Rochelle Spencer

    I enjoyed reading this, but I’m not sure if it’s true that “most classical writers became bestselling authors during their lifetime.” What about Melville? Or Proust? I think that (often) when writers are doing something truly innovative, it takes a little while for the public to catch on. And, I think that’s true no matter what the epoch.