Stand up for good self-publishers – post at Authors Electric

I’m sick of seeing knee-jerk reactions to self-publishers, dismissing us as slushpile rejects, literary no-hopers, copycat dross, self-indulgent narcissists, vanity by another name. If that gets you riled too, you might like my latest post at Authors Electric, where we are having an awfully good rant…

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  1. #1 by Jacinda Little on March 20, 2012 - 1:18 pm

    You go, girl! Give ’em hell and don’t stop. I’ve popped over to Electric Books and I’m happy to see that you’re standing tall for your cause…and for your art.

  2. #3 by londonchoirgirl on March 20, 2012 - 1:37 pm

    Absolutely – and remember, you’re in good company – Virginia Wolf and William Blake both published their work themselves…

    • #4 by rozmorris @dirtywhitecandy on March 20, 2012 - 1:50 pm

      Yay! (If I could work these emoticons better I’d find a little orange chap jumping up and down…)

  3. #5 by Carol Riggs on March 20, 2012 - 3:10 pm

    Yes, making the assumption that all self-pubbers are bad or poor quality is like saying everything that traditional publishers produce is of sterling quality. It’s just not true. You can’t really make blanket statements. Although it’s true a lot of self-pubbers need more editing and polishing–and anyone’s writing appears less polished with poor editing.

    As far as quality of books, there’s a range. You definitely CAN find great quality in self-pubbed books. For instance, Susan Kaye Quinn’s OPEN MINDS is better than most traditional YA books I’ve read!

    • #6 by rozmorris @dirtywhitecandy on March 20, 2012 - 8:59 pm

      Absolutely, Carol. Trad publishers don’t necessarily have the monopoly on quality – I’ve seen books hwere the proof reader obviously got tired by the end. Or (knowing what the job can be like) perhaps they weren’t given enough time to finish it.

  4. #7 by Catana on March 20, 2012 - 4:27 pm

    Thank you so much. The timing is perfect. Yesterday I wrote a post asking, Where is the Renaissance? Today, I followed up with another: How to Encourage a Renaissance? Good self-published books not only have trouble being seen, they have to put up with being trashed. Yes, we need to stand up.

  5. #9 by Paul R. Drewfs on March 20, 2012 - 6:44 pm

    “He who first shortened the labor of copyists by device of movable types was disbanding hired armies, and cashiering most kings and senates, and creating a whole new democratic world: he had invented the art of printing” ~ Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus, 1833.

  6. #11 by blackwatertown on March 20, 2012 - 8:21 pm

    Worth clicking on the link. Good coverage of the self-publishing arguments.

  7. #13 by Tahlia Newland on March 21, 2012 - 2:09 am

    Good on you for speaking out. I think we all need to shout louder and support all the good indie books because every one that we push into the lime light helps change the perception of people who think all Indies are shit, and that change of perception will benefit all of us. This is what is trying to do.

    • #14 by rozmorris @dirtywhitecandy on March 21, 2012 - 2:55 pm

      Thanks, Tahlia – I tweeted about your Awesome Indies site again just the other day. We need more people curating collections of reputable indies, like you are.

  8. #15 by Writerlious on March 21, 2012 - 6:35 pm

    Go on with your bad self sister! It is so hard to break into publishing these days that I can’t believe anyone would knock self-publishing. Especially with the likes of self-pub superstars like Amanda Hocking out there.


  9. #17 by kevinonpaper on March 22, 2012 - 11:37 am

    You know that’s right! Keep it coming.

  10. #19 by Ileandra Young on March 22, 2012 - 8:49 pm

    You keep telling them; it needs to be said as loud and as firmly as you just have!

  11. #20 by Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn on April 18, 2012 - 10:38 am

    I love this post, Roz. Thank you. I so much agree with everything you say. I self-published my novel ‘Unravelling’ in 2010. It’s won three awards – first in the Wishing Shelf Independent Book Award and in Chapter One Promotions self-published book award, and second in last year’s Rubery Book Award, but there’s no hope of anyone in the traditional publishing world taking any notice of it. I thought you might be interested in an email I had from someone (I don’t know her!) on the subject:

    Hi Lindsay,

    I finished Unravelling last night and I just wanted to email and tell you how much I enjoyed it. Yes, I cried at the end – you’d need a heart of stone not to! I loved the characters, and I loved the way they were all flawed, but still I rooted for them to be happy. Your writing is amazing – you don’t need me to tell you that – and I am so looking forward to reading more of your work.

    While I was reading I found myself getting angry! Not at you 🙂 but at the fact that you had to self-publish. How could this book not have been picked up by an agent or publisher? I wanted to line them all up and shout at them: How dare you decide that I can’t go into my local bookshop and find this on the selves? Why did I only find out about Unravelling because I’m a writer myself who was researching self-publishing? Honestly, Lindsay, it makes me furious that great writers are being overlooked for so-called ‘commercial’ reasons. Your book is easily as good (no, better actually) than the latest Joanna Trollope, say.

    So many people saying the same thing. Will someone listen one day? Are they frightened of admitting that there are some excellent self-published books out there?

    • #21 by rozmorris @dirtywhitecandy on April 18, 2012 - 2:45 pm

      Linda, thank you for sharing this email. I’ve had similar about my novel – and about my writing book. I think you’re right that there are a lot of scared people out in the publishing world at the moment. And not just publishers – booksellers are probably aghast at the writers giving readers yet another reason to go to Amazon. I actually don’t mind too much that no one published my novel, because no one ruined it either – with a bad cover, or by failing to put it out in different territories, or by trying to make me bowdlerise it. Although some of the support you get from a publisher is valuable, it can be shortlived – and these days you do a lot of the work yourself.
      What really bothers me is that we can’t get recognition from the curating part of the industry – the reviewers in the national press seem to have a vendetta against self-publishers, as if time and again they must prove that we are rubbish. What can we do? Keep waving the proof that we’re not – like you with your letter.
      I also think another way forward is collectives – authors who band together to act as a mark of quality. This is what Authors Electric does, and new ones are springing up all the time. If you’re around on Friday at 7pm BST (don’t know what time that would be in the timezone you inhabit, or even if you are abroad) a bunch of us are discussing this on a Google + hangout. That probably sounds very technical, and I’ve never done a thing on Google + before. I can’t even tell you how to operate it – but you might find it interesting.
      Anyway, thanks for your comment, and I’m off to download your sample.

      • #22 by Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn on April 19, 2012 - 10:58 am

        Thanks for this, Roz. A collective sounds a good idea. I’d like to take part in your Google plus event, but I’m not on it and so far have resisted as blogging and FB seems to take enough time away from writing. I’m also out on Friday – or might have been tempted! If I can link up with you in any other way, do let me know.

        You’re right about the reviewers. I’m sure if they’d give us a chance, they might be surprised. My next novel is going to be published by Cinnamon Press in 2013, so it will be interesting to compare experiences.

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