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A Good Book?

A good book? What is the definition of a good book or as important - a good writer? I read a lot of posts regarding this subject and the evolving business of publishing in particular. Debates are going on for and against self-publishing and I've read really good points on both sides. I self-publish so obviously I come down on the 'for' side, yet I cannot say that the 'against' side is completely wrong either. I would be crap on a jury, I can too easily relate to both sides of any question. Maybe it is the writer in me, I have to be able to write both sides of the story so I have to have the ability to do that with conviction.


Personally I like the ability to control every aspect of my writing career and if I don't succeed I have no one I can blame except myself. That works for me and I believe that in the end I will succeed. Easy to say because I have already experienced a modest success and I know I'm still learning and growing into my new role.


The thing though that really gets me going, is when I hear some one saying so and so's books are crap...they are terrible writers...etc...etc...yet the writer they are bad mouthing has sold millions of books, have movies made and nearly everyone on the planet knows about them. How can that be bad? How can you say they are a bad writer? Isn't that the point? That something you've written has affected millions of people to me is what writing a good story is all about.


It doesn't matter if it wasn't the most perfectly written book, hell the author may have the pure writing skills of a preschooler, if the characters and story catch the imaginations of millions of readers, I have to say they are a good writer and the book in question is a good book.


You can shake your head and think I'm wrong, but in my opinion you can have a book written using perfect grammar and it has whatever else the literary snobs believe is necessary to call a book good, but if no one reads it or cares... sorry that is a failure, a possibly beautiful and intelligent failure, but still a failure if the goal was to have other people read it.


There is no right answer to the question I pose, because it is and will always be in the mind of the beholder. Whatever happens in publishing, people will always be arguing for or against the newest trends and people will either love or hate, or worse - simply not care about the books being published in whichever way is popular at the time.