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In defense of my stance on self-published books

I offer this comment from Friend of the Blog Nan, who commented on the item on how self-published books were growing in number. I wanted to be sure everyone saw it, because it perfectly sums up one of my problems with self-published books - not everyone can or should write:

From Nan:


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I find it interesting that so many of the same people who support indie rock and indie movies think indie books are appalling.


Interesting point. I can't speak for indie rock or movies, but I can tell you self-published books don't undergo any sort of rigorous editing process. So right off the bat, you're in trouble. I also have a problem with the self publishing companies who allow the writers to think their novels will get reviewed. They take their money, but don't warn them they can't market the book. There's so little room for book reviews anymore, very few publications (none that I know of) review self-published fiction unless it's later picked up by a publishing company.


Wow -- from comment to blog post! I'm honored. I suspect Connie's hostility toward self-pubs is rooted in the same ground as mine -- we don't really care if someone chooses to spend his or her money having their work printed -- it's the aggressive self-promotion that many self-pubs engage in -- most of it targeted at editors like Connie. They all think they're going to the next Celestine Prophecy or Lace Reader and maybe a few of them will. But in the meantime, long-suffering editors all over are being bombarded with unsolicited books and press releases from people the vast majority of whom couldn't write their way out of a paper bag. It gets REALLY AGGRAVATING after awhile. Especially since at least 85 percent of the self-pubs or either memoirs or thinly veiled autobiographical novels about some not-very-interesting personal journey/revelation. I know that sounds mean but that's how it is.


That's a pretty accurate description of how it goes. But I also find it horrifying that someone who doesn't read would assume they could - and should - write. If you don't read other people's books, why should anyone read yours?!


Oh I just thought of something too, in response to idolhater. The comparison of self-pub to indie music and books is wrong. There are indie publishers -- who are not part of the big conglomerates -- and I think book editors and adventurous readers are open to them. For example Bellevue, which just won the Pulitzer, or Melville House. Self-pubs, on the other hand, are more like expecting the public and/or movie and music critics to watch your home videos or listen to you sing. If you want to shoot home movies or sing, knock yourself out. But why are the rest of us required to pay attention ...


Hmmm, this makes sense. So reading a self-published book is kind of like going on youtube and watching homemade music videos. Which is fun if it's your friend but maybe less interesting if you have no connection.

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