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When April started this blog, it was because she was championing the self-publishing author and what she saw was the unfair treatment they received. While I believe things have gotten a little better, it seems that we still have a long way to go for indie authors to get the respect they deserve. Especially if you read Clare Christian’s piece over at The Bookseller.
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Self-publish and be sneered at?
There are many things I love about the book industry but there are also a few that I don’t. Publishing can be slow and old-fashioned at times, broadsheet review pages can be snooty and exclusive and literary awards can be unfair in their submission guidelines. You probably won’t be surprised to learn that my accusations are levelled mainly towards attitudes to self-publishing.
Self-publishing has a lot going for it – I am a self-publishing enthusiast. But its one big disadvantage is the book industry itself – readers excepted. I have yet to meet a single reader who cares a jot who published the book they are reading. They just want great books that are well published. However, the industry does care. The broadsheets seem to have a blanket ban on reviewing self-published books and many literary awards exclude books expressly on the basis of who paid for their publication.
But should a writer’s talent really be judged by who has paid for the publication of his or her book? We all know that publishers are becoming increasingly (and necessarily) risk-averse, so what happens to the authors who, not so very long ago, would have been picked up by a traditional publisher? What happens to those authors whose agents love their book but can’t place it because it doesn’t fit into this or that box, it’s cross-genre or because it’s not the next Gone Girl?
Rachel Abbott is a highly successful self-published author. She has written five best-selling psychological thrillers plus a novella, and last year was named the 14th bestselling author over the last five years on Amazon’s Kindle in the UK. By March of this year she had sold 2 million copies of her books and she has a good and supportive agent in Lizzy Kremer. Yet when her publicist began work to generate interest in Stranger Child, she was met with a blanket no from book review editors – because Rachel pays for her own work to be published.
Surely the many, many readers who buy and enjoy Rachel’s books can’t be wrong? If they have read and enjoyed them isn’t it just possible that some of the readers who browse the book reviews sections of their newspapers could possibly enjoy them too? Or perhaps they would Google Rachel, see that she has paid for the publication of the book and scratch the book from their ‘to read’ list in protest.
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