There’s A Reason We Had Gatekeepers

I’ve been steeping myself in the land of self-publishing lore lately, and it’s both exciting and terrifying (and I don’t mean in an exhilarating way).

There are a lot of talented people out there, launching blogs, ebooks, podcasts, and social campaigns, all with the idea of driving traffic to their particular product.  I’ve learned a lot about how Amazon works (or doesn’t work) as well as how many genres exist that I didn’t even know about (Apocalypse fiction, anyone?)

But in watching videos, listening to podcasts, and reading blogs, one thing is strikingly clear:  Amateurism reigns supreme.  Maybe some people find that refreshing, but I mostly find it somewhat annoying.

Because let’s face it…..some people, especially writers, don’t belong on video.  There’s a reason we see mostly good-looking, relatively glib people on TV.  That’s because it makes it easier to watch.

There’s also a reason we’ve gotten accustomed to listening to well-spoken people on the radio who know how to stay on topic and modulate their voice so we don’t get bored to death.

But on the Net, amateur efforts reign supreme.  It’s pretty hard for me to buy into what you are selling, especially if the product is communications-related, when your best shot resembles an episode of “Wayne’s World” done in someone’s basement.

There’s more to being good at something than saying you are.  And some people are excellent – I’ve also been very impressed with a lot of the content out there.  But that seems to be the exception, rather than the rule.

I don’t have anything on Youtube, or a podcast……and there’s a reason for that.  Even if you are beauty-contest material, it takes a certain energy to come across well on camera.  Not everyone has “it”.   And nobody is going to listen to my flat, Great Lakes-accented delivery without being reminded of the movie “Fargo”, or a character on A Prairie Home Companion.

I guess it’s a way for people to live out their inner talk-show-host fantasies, but just because we have an abundance of tools available doesn’t mean they are all going to work for anyone who can fire up a webcam and mike.




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