At first I thought it would be a good idea to get my name on various lists of authors. It turns out there are a lot of lists, but for the most part, they discriminate so much against self-published and even ‘supported self-published’ authors, a person might begin to believe in a conspiracy theory. Here’s one example: a list for authors living in British Columbia, (that shall remain nameless at this point) that will include anyone who has a book containing at least forty pages in print, but refuses to list print-on-demand (POD) authors, regardless of the number of pages.
Time and again, I’ve found various web sites that are eager to list ‘published authors,’ but right before the data entry part they mention they will not include self-published authors. Personally, I have too much integrity to try and ‘sneak past’ this particular discrimination; I just leave the site when I encounter such stupidity.
Let’s review: the reason there’s such prejudice and animosity towards self-published authors has a somewhat historical basis. Two to three decades ago, special interest groups were publishing things the big name publishing houses refused, then selling their ‘books’ back to their special interest group members. (That alone might not have been so bad, but then they demanded to be put on the ‘best sellers’ list, which really ticked of ‘regular’ publishers.) Others turned to self-publishing because they (rightfully) never should have gotten into print. But times have changed. Even being an excellent writer is no guarantee of getting published these days. There’s simply too much material, so the best new writers have about as much chance of success with the traditional industry as they do with a lottery ticket. Worse, the industry itself is in trouble. (There are some unscrupulous self-publishing companies out there, but that’s another blog.)
Only twenty-five percent of published book titles sell more than a hundred copies. (I’ve sold more than two hundred copies of my first novel, more on that in a bit.) Someone is not doing their job. I believe it’s a combination of the following: the traditional publishing industry isn’t doing its job properly, ie, they’re no longer ‘weeding out’ books that the public isn’t interested in; someone is failing to market the books that do get into print…there’s sort of a ‘the book is in print now, we’ve done our part, the rest is in God’s hands’ attitude; the author is too disconnected from his or her own work…people don’t just want to buy a book, they want to buy into a ‘value added’ product…is there a series, will this be a book I want to pack up and take with me when I move, or practically give away in the garage sale? Don’t forget the book signings–they might seem archaic, but most people will not toss a book the author has personally signed for them.
So I was having supper and fuming about hitting another dead end list when it hit me: I don’t need to be on those lists in the first place. My name doesn’t belong on a list of ‘authors’ whose books sell less than hundred copies!!! Not counting the ones I’ve given away for promotional purposes, I’ve sold over two hundred copies of Been Blued. So why should I be upset about not getting onto a list of non-profiting ‘authors.’ Maybe the word ‘author’ should be redefined as: a person who writes books that people actually purchase and read. (Although several of my would-be readers complain that their friends and family keep swiping their copy and reading it first.) Books people actually like to read…What a concept!
Thanks for reading. 🙂
Phyllis K Twombly