Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Judge Not....

I'm a little ticked. Okay, more than a little because it seems this keeps happening over and over. This morning, a good friend directed me to a blog geared toward Christian authors. Thinking it was right up my alley, I eagerly scanned the site and soon learned that this group consists of several writers who share tips, blog about their work and experiences, and spread the word to readers in the market about new Christian book releases. Excited about the possibility of joining this group, I went to the page outlining membership criteria. There it was, staring back at me in bold black print:

(not verbatim)"We only accept works published through a traditional publishing company."

I was ticked!(I know, I already said that, but it bears repeating)Why are there still so many closed-minded individuals and groups in the literary world who look down on self- and independently-published authors? What makes an author who holds a traditional publishing contract any better or more qualified to write than those who chose an alternate route? In my opinion, and the opinions of many others I know, absolutely nothing!

Let's think about this. Self-publishing companies have made it easy for the average person to publish their work and take it to the marketplace. I am fully aware that there are many self-published works out which are poorly edited or not edited at all. As the saying goes, one bad apple spoils the bunch. But is that really fair to the rest of us who did take the extra time with our work to ensure its quality? Is it fair to say because "anyone can do it" (self-publish)that it's a sub-standard method or that all self-published works are sub-standard? I say, no, it's not fair at all. If anyone cares to do the research, many of our current, best-selling authors began as self-published. John Grisham sold his first books out of the trunk of his car. Nicholas Sparks kept his "day job" for three years after releasing his first book because he never thought he'd be successful at writing. Stephen King originally self-published as did Amanda Brown ("Legally Blonde"), William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White ("The Elements of Style"), and Christopher Paolini ("Aragon" series). I could list many others, but I think you get the idea.

I believe those who are so narrow in their thinking about alternatively published works need to wake up and take a look at what's really out there. At the risk of sounding vain, I'm self-published, and I personally have a proven sales record for my work, an established and ever-growing fan base, and two awards in a national contest judged by librarians and book sellers. My work is not "sub-standard" by any means. Neither are the works of the multitude of other self-published authors I know.

Now, as I close on my thoughts, let me state my disclaimer in that I don't mean to project that one publishing method is superior over any other, or step on the toes of those who hold contracts with traditional publishers. I am simply making a point that there is no reason whatsoever for self- or independently-published authors to be judged unfairly because of a few "bad apples." I've read plenty of traditionally published works that I personally felt should never have made it into print.

I say, forget about the publisher or method, and read a work before you judge it. Give it a chance. You may be pleasantly surprised.

What do you think?


  1. Gee, I get to be the first one to comment on your blog today, Debbie...and I agree with you 100%. There ISN'T enough confidence in we self publishers, and we are considered sub standard in a lot of circles. As you know, I am also self published, but have never had anyone tell me the book was not written well or edited well. I thought, why should I pay an editor when that is what I was paid to do for years on my job?

    When I attended a writer's conference, self publishing was really discouraged, and I met with a LOT of negativity toward having gone that route. I had a chance to pitch my book "Father, Forgive My Father" to an agent there, and he was VERY negative. He also told me that IF I sold 50 books, he would take another look at it. I told HIM, "If I sell 50 books, I will be on my way and I won't NEED you." Well, I have sold way over 50 books, but still do my own marketing, too. Thanks for sticking up for us, dear friend; hope you're enjoying the book.

  2. Thanks for sharing your story, Sandy! Those of us who have gone the self-publishing road need to continue proving to the literary community that we are just as credible as any other author out there. We should not be judged unfairly.