Hallo! I’m going to take a break from my World Building Blog Series. Don’t worry, next week I’ll still bring you WBP4: Government, and because it’s essentially an extension of the previous post, it won’t be as long winded. Huzzah! Moving on!
Earlier today I stumbled upon the blog of someone who recently sold their novel to an established publishing house. In their exclamations of excitement they quantified their success by noting that it wasn’t vanity, self-published, small house, or any number of negative connotations associated with indie authors and small publishing houses, but a real publishing house.
This is a theme I’ve seen often lately. I came across an article, “Self-Publishers Should Not Be Called Authors”.
I don’t see how publishing with a big house or being the member of an exclusive guild makes anyone a better writer than any other. Yes, in self-publishing you have to sift through bad titles to find that gem, but I’m sorry, I found the exact same for big house published works. It’s completely subjective. I won’t for a moment deny that some people put out the first draft and call it good and expect praise and adoration for little work, but I think to discredit an entire industry of people based off of some bad eggs is ignorant. Don’t generalize. Why do people have to generalize?
I find multiple mistakes across the spectrum, from a book by the big five to a self-published book to the small houses in the middle.
Why do people feel more cheated to pay $.99 for an indie/self-published title they didn’t like over paying $14.99 for a big house title they didn’t like? Yet, you pay drastically more for them. It’s a bigger ripoff technically. Yes, with the name comes an expectation of quality, but you can do the same brand association with an independent author. You can know books by A. R. Ladyface are high quality just as easily as books put out by penguin.
I’m not saying that there aren’t some bad works out there, but I think the proper action is to leave a review with constructive criticism in hopes the problems are corrected. If they aren’t then you know not to buy from that specific author again, but to discredit everyone in the business isn’t giving thousands of people a fair shake based off of a few.
So what is legitimacy? I’m going to have to agree with the top comment by Mike Conway on the very article I alluded to above:
Let’s see, if we’re going to make a distinction, like it actually matters, I would say this:
Writer – Someone who writes stuff.
Author – A writer that creates a finished work.
Professional Author – An author that makes a living off of finished works.
Personally, when I pick up a finished work to read, I only care about the fact that it’s finished and published and I can enjoy it or not. The person that wrote it is the author of the work. I don’t care whether or not they’re a member of the “SF Guild of the World” or the “Bestowed Title Because We Say So Guild” or has the logo of a major publishing house on the spine, since that’s not an indicator of quality.
I don’t think the majority of people feel this way, it just seems that those who do are very loud about it. It’s difficult enough to put yourself out there for others to judge, and whilst I’m not saying to baby authors by any means, don’t condemn them without giving them a chance.
Here is a quote from a fellow author and good friend of mine, Marq Truong, in parting:
It is thanks to the incredible success of Indie publishing that large publishers are opening up to new ideas and styles. So this person (mentioned above) could very well have Indie authors to thank for being picked up at all. It has also opened the market for short stories and novellas which did not exist at all to the larger public before the Indie explosion. Many of our most prized classics are novellas (at best) which would not have been published except in some random and obscure anthology if they were put out a decade ago.