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The Publishing Predicament

I think that right now, this period can easily be seen as the Golden Era of Publishing.

Books upon books are being released each month (so much so that I barely recognize any books in the Goodreads Choice Awards) and it’s easier than ever to become a debut author (granted you gain some traction on Instagram or TikTok).

It’s every reader’s dream, right?



With the surge of bookstagram and booktok’s popularity, the communication channel between publishers, authors and readers has never been more open.

This means that there’s a much higher chance that authors (and publishers) will see a booktokker/bookstagrammer’s critique, reviews, likes, and dislikes. The authors can now clearly start to see what exactly their readers want and what they like in a book, like specific tropes.

The most popular tropes are commonly found in the romance genre but can easily overlap over genres such as fantasy or science fiction. The most popular examples of tropes are only-one-bed, marriage-of-convenience, and sunshine x grumpy.

And don’t get me wrong, I LOVE these tropes.

The Spanish Love Deception had me literally squealing from the cuteness.

The problem comes in when these tropes don’t just appear as part of the storyline but are purposefully thrown into the story to appeal to readers. It makes it that much easier to slap these tropes on the back of the book to grab a reader’s attention.

This leads to generic and superficial relationships between characters because it almost feels forced. It creates a dynamic between characters that we have seen time and time again. And yes, these tropes are awesome to read, but to read them over and over and over again?

It gets boring.

And there’s nothing that triggers a MASSIVE reading slump for me as effectively as a boring story.

Ultimately, I understand why authors and publishers do this despite me not agreeing or liking it at all. The logical side of me understands.

Because you see, the main goal of the publishing industry is, say it with me kids, to make profit.

If you Google the book publishing industry’s yearly revenue, it comes up with a total of $29.33 billion. And that’s just North America’s stats. It’s important to understand that the publishing industry is a machine, designed to churn out as many books as it can and make as many sales as possible to increase its revenue.

On the opposite scale of that, you have writing.

I sometimes feel like people forget that writing is art. Literature is supposed to evoke emotion within readers or to educate them about a certain topic. Whether that emotion be anger, sadness, or glee and whether that topic be steam trains in 1830 or social problems in modern society, literature is meant to have an impact on us as readers.

Literature, as an art form, takes time and a ton of effort to produce. It’s not something that can just be copied and reproduced to be sold.

During this year, I’ve kind of started to compare the publishing industry to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If you follow the MCU’s progression, you might have noticed the stark decline in the quality of their films. Whether it be from the writing to effects, there has definitely been something missing from each Marvel production I watched this year.

The age-old adage comes to mind: Quality over quantity.

Writers should be allowed to write what their hearts desire: tropes or no, popular subjects or no. And we as readers must acknowledge the time and effort that goes into these literature works because believe it or not, there’s a piece of a writer’s soul in each book they write.

Yes, I know that profit is an important factor in publishing for many and I respect that.

But I don’t think it should be the main driving factor behind writing and releasing a book.

If we as readers stop reading books because of the lack of quality caused by the focus on quantity, this turns into a game that no one will win.


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