I was somewhat surprised to learn about the prejudice self-published authors face…although, as a Canadian, I’m well aware of a certain mindset that tends to censor things.  The mandated minimum of Canadian content for all international publications sold in Canada, for example.  While that may be a legitimate effort to help preserve Canadian identity, the reality is that when some content is mandated, other content is left out.  The results should be left to stand or fall on their own merit.  Right now I want to examine the reality a self-published author discovers upon being in print.

I suspect part of the prejudice against self-publishing results from the sheer determination special interest groups (SIGs) have in getting onto the best seller’s list, even though mainstream publishing has turned them down flat.  Fair enough.  How can a general best seller’s list serve the public interest when SIGs tend to print their own work, then sell the results back to their own following?  Such behavior negates even asking the question, ‘is it good writing?’  Perhaps the SIGs must answer that on their own.

On the other hand, every publishing house was started somewhere, by someone or some group of people.  To say self-publishing is wrong because it’s not the result of passing through a traditional publisher makes no sense.  Look around any modern city and you’ll find a mix of ‘traditional’ business, big business, local retail, and home businesses.  Publishing shouldn’t be any different.  In the end, a novel is either bought or left on the shelf because a reader makes a choice.  Shut out self-published books and all you’re doing is taking choices away from readers.

One comment was a bit puzzling to me in all this.  Self-published authors were presented as being overly aggressive in their marketing efforts.  Either that’s because they don’t have a the resources of a traditional publishing house behind them, or the prejudice already against them makes it harder for them to be heard.  One thing I’ve learned is that people who want my book for nothing really don’t want it in the first place.  People who enjoy the Star Trek type of science fiction enjoy Been Blued.  I’ve yet to have a science fiction reader tell me they didn’t like it.  They paid for it without reservation, so I’m certain they’d also tell me.  My question is why anyone would think a self-published author, who’s already invested in their work financially, should not market his or her book.  Other authors simply have someone else to do the same work for them.

Thanks for reading.  More to follow on this topic, hopefully next week.  🙂

Phyllis K Twombly

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