What are semantics in writing?
*This is the harbinger of a dominant electronic vernacular language. “Bad” is the wrong word for a major transition of this kind. It’s too big and powerful to be stigmatized. People are inputting and reading much, much more texts from screens than they ever see from a printed page, and the majority standard of textual expression, by a tremendous margin, is the SMS.
*The unseen literary player here is machine translation. It’s getting “better” fast, and we may soon be in a world where on-demand machine-translated texts become major literary influences. The real web-semantic breakthrough would be a machine-assisted ability to painlessly read texts outside one’s own language. At that point we’ll have entered an unheard-of state of linguistic globalized electro-pidgin.
*Grammatical spellchecking and “autotuning” of texts may change the literary landscape, too. “Bad” writing may be pursued and silently extinguished by the operating-system, much like a self-focussing camera. The Web will be supporting more and more of the scutwork of semantics.
*It’s not that the slushpile is profitable; it’s that there is no longer an analog dam against which the slush can pile.
“It used to be the refrain about self-publishing that to do it right you needed to hire a professional book-cover designer and a professional editor. While there is no doubt that self-publishers should do this, it doesn’t really seem to be the case that this entirely matters anymore. Plainly, we’re entering a new phase where people approach writing differently. People will forgive problems for a cheap read.
“Roxanne Gay has a post on HTML Giant which repeats the age-old mantra about gatekeepers:
Quality is certainly very subjective but even with that, given the self-published work I’ve read (admittedly not an adequate sample to really draw broader conclusions) there’s a reason most of those self-published books were not picked up by publishers great or small. There was no misunderstood genius in these novels. These books fell through the proverbial cracks for a reason.