For at least 30 years, I dream of it, I want to go to the Frankfurt Book Fair – and if I have to buy a ticket. That was and is not my first choice, of course, because if so, yes. That means in this case, as a loaded author. I buried this dream over time and the manuscripts sent to publishers. So then go the second-best way. But there was, I found out, a third way, which I would describe as the one and a half best, where I bought the card not directly, but as to say within an overall package. Exhibited books at the fair, an entry in the catalog and a ticket. So my book was at the Frankfurt Book Fair, which – despite all the well-known doomsday – still enjoys a high priority.
Right, I bought the space for my books. Only a few years ago I would have refused, with all diva like attitudes of the artist, because – so I was convinced – the books come to the Frankfurt Book Fair, which deserve it, that is to say, correspond to a certain level, be it the artistic expression or creative potential. This level is noted, with professional assurance from the publishers. What they say, that is true. And only those who are good enough get a much-desired contract from a publisher, although of course there are more prestigious and less prestigious ones. And hand on heart, which aspiring author would not dream of suhrkamp or Herder or whatever they are called to get. If that fails you will eventually come to the point where you think that any publisher is still better than none at all. And only the allall of all last resort is the way of self-publishing. Well-established publishers still look down on them with a huff, because in the industry there is still the opinion that only publishes itself, that does not have the right level to find the right publisher. And once you have ventured as an author to move in this area, then you need not knock at publishers, as I was allowed to experience. „We have found that they are self-publishing. Since that is of no interest to us from the beginning,“ I was told. That without having read a word. That’s when I first really started to think about what that means.
A publisher is a commercial company focused on profit, otherwise it has no chance of survival on the market. So, a banal thing. To run a business always includes an entrepreneurial risk. Every entrepreneur wants to keep this risk as low as possible. If we stay in the field of literature, the risk is kept as low as possible, for example by attached to trends. Trendy themes that reflect the lifestyle of the time or have been made trendy. Since you can hardly save for months from wand-wielding creatures children’s books, designed for 12-year-old, preferably read by adults. Or before moral-moving stories, which teach with the strongest conviction the girls again that they have to go virgin into the marriage, because otherwise they burn, especially if it is the husband is a vampire. Although a vegetarian one. If you do not know – and I hope they are some that do not get bitten by this reading from dawn to dusk -, vegetarian vampires are those who consume only animal and not human blood. Or bored, stupid housewives who can be radiantly treated semi sadistically by an equally mentally underdeveloped macho. Then every publisher hangs on it, until the topic is completely exhausted and you are desperately waiting for the next trend, so that you jump on it in time, so as not to miss it. Conversely, this means that minimizing entrepreneurial risk is at the expense of diversity, and must be, because issues that are not hip mean unnecessary risk. However, the choice for the reader is also limited accordingly. It is – as can easily be deduced – not quality, but the pure theme. Of course, you can now finally discuss what quality means, but for me it means a certain linguistic level, and yes, one can expect the reader also some foreign word or some wit, and rise from the shallow sub-trees, because light literature does not necessarily imply a shallow level of language. It is only too gladly clamped together. Nevertheless, readers are not deterred by the reluctance of publishers to buy self-publishing, which leads me to the bold thesis that it is a simple bread-and-butter. But it is always an indictment if you have nothing more to offer than to make the competition bad. Then let’s just decide the consumer. Do we just leave?