What do I value most in a web site? Honesty.
When you go to a commercial site (Apple, say), you know going in that everything you see and read was massaged by corporate drones to fit a corporate theme aimed at corporate profits. Whether you buy into the theme or not, it’s all a lie. It might even be a fun lie, like Disneyland, but it’s still aimed at your wallet.
This tendency infects almost everything, particularly in the U.S., because we’re a business culture. Whether you’re a top-flight CEO or a sole-proprietor, who people think you are and how they respond to that image will probably determine whether you get to eat or not. (Okay, maybe not so much with the CEO.) It’s not objectively wrong to put your best foot, face, cheek or assets forward — although how you go about doing so may say more about who you are than you intended to reveal.
All of which is preamble to introducing you to Levi Montgomery. Over the past six months, in reading Levi’s blog posts, I haven’t had a single moment where I thought Levi was shading his opinion for later advantage. Granted, that’s easy enough to do if you’re just shooting your mouth off, and there’s no shortage of such people on the web.
But here’s the thing. Levi’s involved. He’s part of Self-Publishing Review, he recently pointed me to and recommended The Self-Publishing Review (which allowed me to find HPRW again), and he’s walking the walk himself as a writer.
I don’t always agree with his reactions and opinions, nor he I’m sure with mine, but the thing is, he meets a critical bar. He rationally explains his opinions, instead of blithely assuming that anybody who doesn’t ‘get it’ is a dweeb. Take his decision to remove his work from Smashwords, including his view that the PDF file-type should be the e-reader standard. I disagree, but then I also know that Levi is interested in retaining more control over the look and feel of his work than I am. (I’m crazy big into transparency as an aspect of craft.)
There just aren’t a lot of people who say what they think and explain what they mean. Levi Montgomery is one of those voices. Add to that the fact that he’s not sitting on the self-publishing sidelines, and you’ll understand why I consider him a must-read.
— Mark Barrett