This article is written as part of the monthly group posting of the Insecure Wtiters Support Group.
Today my insecurity is due to the prejudice against independent authors, from within and without the publishing industry.
Prejudice means disfavouring or disliking something without an objective or fair reason for doing so. Pride, on the other hand, can be a good thing if it means respecting yourself and feeling that you deserve to be respected by other people, however, it can be a very negative quality if it means feeling that someone considers they are more important or better than others.
When pride is coupled with prejudice, the latter meaning is implied, as in Jane Austen’s classic novel, in which love was denied and lives almost ruined due to unreasonable pride and unjustified prejudice.
My point today is the pride and prejudice endured by published authors, like me, who do not have a traditional publishing house or agent to back them, that is, Independent or Self-Published Authors.
If a traditional publisher acquires an author’s work they make most of the decisions and take on all the expense involved with producing the work. On the other hand, independent authors make their own decisions about when to publish on one of the digital self-publishing platforms, or in paperback. Indie authors have to make all the decisions and cover all the costs, such as hiring freelance editors and proof readers, cover artist, book formatter, and publicist, or they can do it (or part of it) themselves.
Why are independent authors listening to unfair criticism and dismissal by readers who say, ‘I don’t read self-published authors’, booksellers who say, ‘we don’t stock self-published authors’, and other writers who say, ‘self-published authors are lazy writers taking short cuts’ (Sue Grafton).
I wonder if they would dare say the same of independent film producers, musicians, or artists, who are usually respected by critics and the public.
Who are the gate keepers?
Why is it that most self-published titles are not given the same respect or consideration, by readers, book-sellers, and writers, that traditionally published writers receive?
I’ve seen plenty of traditionally published novels, some are even big names, with negative reviews and very low sales ranks, proving that traditional publishers and agents aren’t doing their jobs as well as they like to assume.
Perhaps authors who would have approached an agent or publisher are preferring the independent route, sidestepping the traditional gatekeepers.
Today, thanks to the digital revolution in publishing, and the growth of publishing platforms, readers are the new gatekeepers. We should all be concerned with reaching readers and giving readers a quality product, which is well written, well-edited, proof read, and formatted, whether it’s erotica, historical, crime, dystopian, literary, or whatever genre.
Most indie authors sell their novels at 2.99 and occasionally at 0.99. When a big name author publishes at $16.00, they have to prove their novel is 16 times better value for money than an independently published novel, and quite honestly, it’s often not worth it.
I’ve been an English teacher all my life. I’ve read most of the classics, in English, French, and Spanish, and taught English literature from Anglo-Saxon verse to spoken word poetry. I still reread the classics regularly, but 90% of what I read today are other self-published authors in an attempt to support the brave and hard-working writers, who are walking up the down staircase in a very competitive industry, and in spite of this producing good quality work. consequently, I’ve had the pleasure of reading dozens of well written self published books last year. You can check out my reviews on this blog.
Don’t be proud or prejudiced, and don’t let anyone tell you what to read. Read whichever style or genre you prefer. Check the blurb, skim through some of the reviews, and read the first 10%, it’s free, and then decide whether you want to read the rest of it or not.