Posted By Sue Collier on May 29, 2013
I read an article recently on how one particular blogger really admires self-published authors. She calls to attention the fact they get to finish something and she points out the support indie authors tend to offer one another. One of the grumpy commenters to the article stated unequivocally that “all” self-published books suck—except for one, apparently, which he read and liked. Other commenters were quick to come to the defense of self-publishing, pointing out self-published authors who have reached success (Stephenie Meyer and Amanda Hocking, anyone??). The curmudgeonly commentator simply restated his opinion—that all self-published books are garbage. He didn’t bother defending his position.
It got me to thinking. Why is the independent music scene—and I’m referring to artists who record and sell their music without a record label—admired but the self-publishing scene still stigmatized? Granted, the stigma is lessening, but it still exists.
I will admit up front that I don’t know much about music other than knowing what I like. That said, I’ve seen the respect offered to independent recording artists first-hand. A good friend of mine is in a band; this band does not have a record label but they have recorded and sold four original CDs. Whenever my friend mentions this to anyone, the admiration is usually instantaneous. There is no question of why the band couldn’t get a record deal. There is no eye-rolling because clearly their music must somehow be sub-par if a label didn’t pick it up. There is no assumption of no talent because their music hasn’t been “vetted” by record label executives. And honestly, his band is really good.
Self-publishers, however, often do face the sympathetic glances because “clearly” their work “wasn’t” up to the level of a traditional publisher. Or even worse, complete dismissal for the same reason. Just like there is a lot of competition among musicians and bands, the situation is similar for authors. Traditional publishers—and I’m assuming record labels—generally publish books by authors they believe will make them a lot of money. What about the books that are excellent but might have a more limited audience? What about unknown authors who put out great stuff Should authors not dare to publish their works because they haven’t been accepted by a traditional publisher? What a waste of talent for good authors who have good work to share.
So I say, give self-published authors a chance. For as many as there are who put out shoddy work there are many who put out their best stuff and it’s worthy of reading.