|Atari 2600 suffered after the 1983 crash|
Then in 1983/84 (the timing isn't exactly clear) people decided to stop buying games. This wasn't a gradual and slow depletion of interest over time, it was sudden and impacted the US video game industry in unfathomable ways. It was called 'The Great Video Game Crash' and called time-out on almost all the video games systems out there for quite a few years.
Here in the UK, it didn't really affect us in such a big way as we mainly purchased the early microcomputers with their ultra cheap games. Most people could always spare the odd £1.99 on a budget title now and again. But this sharply contrasted to the $15 - $30. for a single Atari 2600 cartridge in the US.
I first heard about this 'crash' a few years ago and became interested in why it happened so read into it a little bit more.
But why am I telling you all this? This blog isn't about sodding video / computer games, it's about how well I'm failing at being a self-published author isn't it? Well let me explain.
As I read more about the 'Great Video Game Crash' in the US it started me thinking. Most sources cite the cause of the crash as the massive influx of poorly designed games which began to hit the market after Atari lost a court battle with Activision which allowed third parties to produce games for Atari's systems. As companies discovered the huge public demand for video games, more of them decided to jump on the bandwagon and produce their own titles for various systems.
During the early days in video games there was very little in the way of quality control and pretty much anyone could design a game and release it for Atari. This caused an incredible amount of very bad games hitting the systems, and when customers were paying anything up to $30. for a game, people got wise to this lack of quality extremely quickly.
This resulted in customers not trusting what developers were promising and backing away from video games altogether. And it wasn't just the occasional customer who did this - almost everyone did.
To be honest this is a difficult subject for me to address because many people reading this might very well put my first foray into the self-publishing world (and my other forays for that matter) in the category of unedited, unreadable twaddle.
I self-published Kinesis in 2012 and was just glad I had finally finished a novel! I didn't expect many people to read it, but was delighted when it began to gain a modest number of downloads. Reviews were initially positive but then I began to get called up on my poor editing which I completely agreed with and started to correct as quickly as possible.
This is my point. Perhaps if there is a self-publishing crash due to the public getting wise to so many poorly written, poorly edited books flooding the market, then maybe I should consider myself one of the authors who contributed to such a disaster and take my fair share of the blame!
Since publishing in 2012, I have learned a great deal about this industry and wish I could go back and wait a few more months before releasing Kinesis for the first time. The reviews that are based on the first edition of that book and highlight the poor editing still haunt me on Amazon even now! I like to think I've corrected most of them and improved the readers experience exponentially since that version came out. I am now on the fifth edition which I'm finally 80% happy with (I'll never reach the dizzy heights of 83% - no way). My writing is improving all the time, which I'm sure is the case for many other self-published authors out there.
Will there be a self-publishing crash where the public finally get wise to all the badly written nonsense flooding Amazon and stop buying anything by a self-published author? There was a time that I wasn't sure about this but I'm feeling a little more confident in this not being the case as time goes by. Amazon and the other big digital publishers seem to be gradually implementing more and more quality control in self-published work. Amazon doesn't want people to stop buying self-published books since it would greatly impact their own profits from the share they get from the thousands of books available, so it is only in their self-interest to ensure this doesn't happen. There is also the fact that digital books can be made available for such a small fee, and customers are willing to take a chance even if the book might very well be awful (very similar to the reason why we didn't have such a major computer game crash here in the UK).
I hope we're past the worse as far as ultra-bad self-published books being released on the digital platforms are concerned. Personally, I'm just going to keep trying to get better as I write more novels and I'm quite sure that in a couple of years I'll look back on the books I'm writing now and cringe with the repeating thought in my head 'how the hell could I have released this book in such a state?'
I'm trying to get better guys, so please keep reading.
All the best,