You won’t find a more lucid and dead-right rant on the current backlash against self-publishing. You simply won’t.
Read, you must.
9 responses to “Read, you must.”
That was genuinely disturbing. What Libbie had to say was dead on, writers and readers are the two non-negotiable, must-have, elements. What is disturbing are the lengths to which the middle-men are going to hold onto their income. They are fabricating and perpetuating a pair of blinders to fit squarely–if uncomfortably–on their own heads.
Somehow the only defense they have come up with to stave off the advance of the self publisher is to throw mud and attack. They even attempted an dubious end-run to outflank the leading seller of independant ebooks.
Is there no reasonable voice among them who will stand up and throw their blinders off? Sure there are those who have come half-way to secure limited rights to an undeniable success, and I imagine there will be more. How hard is it to offer sweet deals to the outliers? Your marketing research is already done for you–you know the book is a smash hit already.
There are so many ways they could take positive advantage of the situation it’s not even funny, but it would require them to bend further. They would have to change, and that takes money. They would have to impliment competitive royalty and pay structures. Oops! That means change again to remove/rework a stoneage infrastructure (I wonder who has their balls in a vice on this one?)
And the booksellers. Who is scratching whose back here? Do the big six threaten to withhold their bestsellers if you should have a self published book on your shelf? (that’s not a rhetorical question)
And those damn editors. I love those I know, they are some of my favorite people. Snarky and fun, they really know their stuff.
Thanks for sharing. Simply not surprised that the publishers and booksellers and their crony writers are acting this way.
Thanks, Hugh! Glad you liked it.
For the record, I really respect John Green as a writer. His work is top-notch. And if I were lucky enough to have the career he has, I might feel the same way he feels. But I would probably not have expressed my feelings using those particular words.
The dude is a killer writer!
I have four self-published books, with my fifth due out this week. If it weren’t for self-publishing I’d have given up on writing a long time ago as despite a growing fan base and dozens upon dozens of heartfelt reviews, I am yet to write anything that excites an agent or a publisher. Personally, I think that’s their problem not mine. But one thing I have seen vividly is, you cannot grow as a writer without publishing. Sure, fingers on the keyboard is an individual effort, and as you note, indies need an editor and to listen to beta-readers, but the real uplift in writing quality comes from readers, from the feedback and direction they provide, both positive and negative.
Self-publishing is an opportunity to grow. The only criticism I have of self-publishing is writers have sold themselves short. My ebooks are cheaper than a cup of coffee, but require a helluva lot more effort to put together. There’s no real return, for me at least with my sales. It takes months before I break even on editing costs, covers, etc. And I don’t even want to think about how long it takes to break even on my time, ROFL. But I write for the love of writing. Without self-publishing, that wouldn’t be possible.
As the Seattle Vine notes, these guys feel threatened. But there is some middle ground. There’s a lot of crap in self-publishing, but there are some diamonds too, publishers should be looking to build a middle-level market. But that will take re-educating readers to value books more than a burger from McDonalds.