Monday, 1 March 2010

When Publishing Goes Wrong?

I apologise in advance for this post, but since most us are interested in writing, and many of us have children and grandchildren, I want to ask you all a question about the publishing industry which really leaves me confounded. Perhaps one of you can answer it for me.

I have noticed, over the last year or so - when browsing amongst second-hand books - that there seems to be a an endless supply of 'true' accounts of abused childhood, often written - purportedly - by the children themselves, after they have reached adulthood.

They all - like the cover examples here - show pictures of cute children, and have menacing titles. The images above were the first 4 choices from a random selection from Amazon books, and I wonder what the motivation for the publishing of them is. There seems to be THOUSANDS of these sort of titles out there, and I really wonder about why they are still being published, since they never seem to make it onto best-seller lists.

Who buys them? Is there an unlimited market for this stuff, and - if so - where is it targeted? How the hell do the publishers get away with placing photos of what appear to be real children on the covers of these books, when the rest of us are virtually forbidden to show family albums to anyone other than family members?

Am I being stupid, and/or is there a genuinely innocent reason for these tales - true or false - to be put out for mass consumption? I have never got any further than the covers of these books, so I don't know if the content is more uplifting or helpful than the prurient sales technique.

They give me the creeps, but I would be glad to be put right about them by someone who might know better.

Not much humour in this post - sorry.


  1. I smell a very stinking dose of voyeurism.

    I suspect the readership for this genre is 'Homemaker with issues', and the sentiment 'there but for the grace of God..'

    NOT my tasse de thé.

  2. Maybe it's a bit like the way most of enjoy disaster movies, or murder thrillers (whilst sitting at home with a nice cup of tea), on the 'there but for the grace of God' side.

    There is also the very basic ploy of appealing to the innate desire to protect the vulnerable, but all that can go horribly wrong and rotten. We all know the stereotype of the over-protective father who will never consider any boy to be good enough for his little girl, no matter how old she is. Also the jilted lover who turns stalker, and becomes so mentally ill, that he convinces himself that - by hanging around his ex's front door at 3.00 in the morning - he is protecting her against intruders. "If I can't have her, no one else will..."

    In one of my previous posts, I go on about confronting the dark side before it festers and poisons us. Well, if ever there was a dark and complex manifestation of warped social values and mores, bathing itself in full, public daylight, then it is the proliferation of these books and the obvious market for them.