No Room at the Inn for Indies – Part II

Newspaper book editor Bill Thompson responds to No Room at the Inn for Indies. The original post began:

Mainstream newspapers – even struggling, mid-sized papers – seem to look at Indie authors the way the hot girls in high school looked at the manager of the football team. You’re nice, but you really don’t expect me to date you, do you? 

The post drew more than 50 comments in less than 24 hours, mostly from those who feel mainstream newspapers unfairly dismiss independent authors. Rosie Cochran, for instance, wrote, “Change worries people. They like the status quo. No Room at the Inn for Indies does well to show that self-publishing has taken off, causing changes that traditional publishers, and obviously the newspaper world, are not ready for.”

Thompson’s unedited response follows:

So many of you who are so smug about the irrelevancy of the modern newspaper and the “cluelessness” of book review editors in the face of the new publishing models clearly don’t have all the facts.

You do not know the skeleton-staff newsroom as it exists today. It is all about WORKLOAD. An insupportable workload, usually. You can not do it all, no matter how experienced and efficient and energetic and forward-thinking. You would have a book review editor (who typically wears many other hats) read and consider every book that comes across his or her desk, every book pitched in the 100-plus book-related e-mails we get every day of the week. Impossible. Yet you claim we are “not doing the job.”

You would have us invest time we do not have dealing with writers unskilled in crafting professional publicity releases and who are too often unable to provide the necessary high-resolution photography that must accompany author profiles and articles. Most self-published authors are inexperienced, ill-advised by the companies they paid, and approach us months to YEARS after a book has been on the market. Newspapers write about books that are brand new, just out, and usually in advance of their publication date.

Also, most of us are overwhelmed by an ocean of writers in our own communities, much less trying to deal with the rest of the country.

You also do not distinguish between small independent (variously defined) publishers, whose books we review all the time, and self-publishing firms, some (though certainly not all) of whom are little better than charlatans making extravagant promises to clients they can not possibly fulfill. Save some of your distaste and rancor for them.

Most of you have ignored the comment Steve was fair enough to add about our reviewers: they are unpaid VOLUNTEERS. A book review editor may decide what to order (large and small mainstrean publishers supply catalogs months in advance of publication, and this lead time is critical), but it is the reviewer who decides what he or she wishes to review. Unlike the NY Times, most papers do not have staffs to whom they assign reviews.

You seem to think we enjoy exercising a form of arrogant, petty power in saying “no,” when in fact many of us dislike doing so but have no choice. I do understand the frustration of trying to get a book published against a stacked deck. It is exceedingly difficult to break through. Yet people do: 310,000 books published each year by “legit” U.S. publishers alone. Yet it is no more the job of a newspaper to act as their marketing and publicity agent as it is for is to market those who publish using the new models. Policies are put in place for a REASON, and are re-evaluated more often than you might think.

As for us supposedly disparaging or ignoring the alleged mass readership clamoring for self-published books, what do you admire more: an intelligent, well-made movie that respects its audience and strives for excellence, or a mindless blockbuster or witless comedy that draws huge audiences but is utterly lacking in value? Empty bestsellers or serious fiction and nonfiction? You have no idea just how many mainstream potboilers we reject.

The mass audience has never been a good barometer of quality; usually it’s the reverse. And for all the talk about the appeal of the democratizion of publishing, there is nothing “democratic” about art except the opportunity to produce it. Art can not be democratized. Works of art — and artists — are not invariably equal.

That said, and while I don’t want to be insensitive, I do not believe the mass readership so many of you tout even exists. I never hear from readers of self-published books wondering why we do not review them. I hear only from their authors, trying to get coverage (as an afterthought, typically) and usually ignorant of the process their publisher should have coached them on, but did not.

Would you have us dispense with standards of any kind? For my money, better a small audience of genuinely demanding and discerning readers than a mass audience representing mass tastes. If that’s elitist, so be it. I will happily retire from the business as someone who tried to uphold widely accepted standards of literary excellence, but also as a reporter and editor who did his level best to give as many authors a chance as he could.


Has Thompson changed your mind? Please weigh in.



40 Comments so far »

  1. Shawn said,

    Wrote on December 13, 2011 @ 12:51 pm

    No, in fact he reinforces my opinion of the arrogant, good-old-boy establishment.

    He shows his hypocrisy by defending wrong views of newspaper people and proceeding with his own prejudice and ignorance by inflammatory and erroneous statements concerning self-published authors.

    You, Steve, are a professional in your area, and I’m an award-winning screenwriter who now has 5 novels under my belt – 1 traditional and 4 self. But we are nothing in his arrogant eyes.


    Steve Piacente Reply:

    Boldly stated, Shawn, thanks for commenting.


  2. Cassandra Blizzard said,

    Wrote on December 13, 2011 @ 1:24 pm

    I agree with Thompson on a few points, one of them being the skeleton crew and the impossibility of looking at everything that is sent in over the transom. However, they tend to only look at the books offered by what he calls legit publishers. I also agree with him about the quality. If we are honest with ourselves, there are too many self-published authors who cannot write well. I can give loads of examples of authors who switch tense from paragraph to paragraph, and even within paragraphs. Too many people out there think they can write, and they have no idea that writing is hard work. However, let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. Traditionally published authors are now making the leap to self-published. I know some of them personally. These are multi-published authors who are sick and tired of having their work tossed aside because one person, the editor or the agent, decided that it wasn’t worthy of publishing. These are writers who have written multiple published books. Not newbies. The entire publishing industry model is ridiculous from A to Z. An author works hard to write a book, then works even harder to find an agent, then waits and waits for a publisher, and then waits and waits some more for a paycheck. And who gets paid first? The agent. And it is a consignment process. It’s antiquated, outdated, and it needs to change. So, I agree about the lack of time on the part of the newspaper staff, and, at least in part, I can agree that not all self-published authors can write. However, I cannot stress enough that I have been asked to do interviews and speaking engagements without soliciting these entities at all. They came to me and invited me to speak. Why? Because my fans spoke up and told them that they wanted to hear me speak. My readers used their voice and asked. So, maybe Thompson has never heard from a writer’s fans, but…my local newspaper has heard about me for years, and you know what…my local newspaper, no matter how many fans mention me to editors, always ignores me and shoves me aside. I don’t care anymore about my local newspaper ignoring me, because I have other invitations from credible venues. And my local newspaper is crumbling from the inside and losing readers due to the internet explosion. Again, I believe all writers should strive to write well and concede that writing is hard work. Very hard work. It isn’t easy to put together a cohesive novel. Still, I see traditionally published work that I can’t even get past the first page because it is so badly written. I see ads from those traditional publishers with misspellings in them. The lack of good writing is everywhere, not just in the Indie world. Steve, I appreciate your blog and this opportunity for both sides to speak out.


    Steve Piacente Reply:

    A temperate and well-considered response, Cassandra. Thanks for your solid addition to the discussion.


  3. Stephen England said,

    Wrote on December 13, 2011 @ 2:02 pm

    In the first part of his response, he pretty much restates the points I made on your original article, Steve.
    Unfortunately, his attitude becomes progressively more elitist as he goes along. I think it’s a matter of discerning which of his points are completely valid and which are not.


    Steve Piacente Reply:

    I think the bottom line for self-publishers is that it doesn’t appear radical change in review policy is going to come anytime soon. Thanks for your comment, Stephen.


  4. Larry Constantine (Lior Samson) said,

    Wrote on December 13, 2011 @ 2:24 pm

    Having worked on both sides of the serial publication divide, I am very sympathetic with Thompson’s main points about workload, staffing, and volunteer editors. What I still object to is the discrimination that automatically, as a matter of policy, rejects self-published or indie-published books. You can judge a book by it’s cover when it’s amateur trash, and it takes reading only a few paragraphs to know enough to pass on the 90% that is not worth a further look. I read hundreds of indie and self-published books, and I know of only a single instance where I eventually reversed myself on the first impression that something was dreck.

    If I were running a newspaper, I would not advertise or invite indie authors to submit, but I would not have a blanket policy against them. As a book review editor, you are free to chuck out or pass on any book, but the triage should be based on the book and its ancillary materials, not on a blanket exclusion.

    –Larry Constantine (writing as Lior Samson)


    Steve Piacente Reply:

    Thanks, Larry, I think the discussion is a healthy one, and hopefully will produce some workable ideas for consideration by both sides.


  5. Sheryl Dunn said,

    Wrote on December 13, 2011 @ 2:41 pm

    I agree with Thompson’s comments virtually in their entirety.

    Between the lines, I see someone who is overworked and underpaid, who has worked hard at fairness, and is just a little hurt by the criticism of what I might call, hesitantly (because I open myself up to criticism, too) the ‘unwashed.’

    As the Chief Thief (CEO and Editor-in-Chief) of a new publisher, I can tell you that finding good books, editing them, and getting them to market is a challenge beyond belief in the shifting sands of publishing these days.

    I stand by Thompson’s comment to the effect that, statistically, the average self-published book is not as good as a book that has gone through the rigorous process of a traditional publisher. For example, I read a list of Kindle bestsellers just yesterday, and then went to Amazon to read the excerpts. These authors have fans, i.e., their books are selling well, and yet most have serious flaws. While there is no such thing as a perfect novel, the basics of good writing and good stories seem to be lacking (e.g., weak characterization for one thing, along with a host of other weaknesses.)

    The freedom of self-publishing is not a bad thing because some great books are being self-published that would not have been published otherwise for a host of reasons having nothing to do with their quality, but the price of freedom in book publishing may come at the cost of the ‘tyranny of the majority,’ i.e., a gradual ‘dumbing down’ of the books that attract the public’s attention, and a gradual ‘dumbing down’ of public taste.

    On the other hand, if the ebook revolution gets more people reading, the opposite may happen – the public’s taste and ability to discern the difference between good writing and not-so-good writing may improve.

    Whichever way it goes, I believe there’s a role for publishers and other ‘filterers’ of quality.

    It’s too easy to criticize the ‘old school’ way of doing things, and to say that it’s a conspiracy, or an old boys club, that keeps real talent suppressed. And, there is no doubt that some of the major publishers may not adapt rapidly enough to the ebook revolution to survive, but some people seem to forget that the reason why most people in the publishing business, which is famous for low-paying jobs, are in it because they love books as much as the actual writers do. For the individuals who work in publishing, it’s a calling, not a job (and, I suspect, the newspaper business is similar.)

    Most of the human beings who work for legitimate publishers, whether big or small, adore their authors, and if they could, they’d work for free to help good authors find their audiences. (And they undoubtedly hate it when they see good books being rejected because the powers-that-be cannot see a big enough market for the material.)

    I wish I believed that the ‘cream will rise to the top’ – and sometimes it does – but not as often as it should.

    The bottom line is that it’s far to easy to criticize an admittedly flawed system without having all the facts. But self-publishing has its flaws, too. And both systems are far too complex in a complex world for flawed human beings to find the perfect answer. There isn’t one.

    For any author, the challenge is to write the best book possible and to publish it. For a self-published author or a publisher, getting a good book out there is also a responsibility – to society and to yourself or to the author – but in the rush and drive to get your work in the public’s eye, or, in the case of a publisher, to survive financially by looking for the next bestseller, quality is often sacrificed.


    Stephen England Reply:

    I don’t care for the blanket discrimination, but I agree with you–statistically, he is accurate. I have read any number of sub-par traditionally published books. . .but that number pales in comparison to the number of independent books I haven’t even finished. Before we get caught up in the drama of our fight against the Evil Empire, we need to take a long hard look at our “comrades-in-arms”.


    Steve Piacente Reply:

    Thanks for a thoughtful perspective, Sheryl, though I suspect there will be a few raised eyebrows at your (slang) title of Chief Thief. You’re right that both systems have their flaws. Hopefully the debate will continue and produce some workable answers, or at least guidance.


    Shawn Reply:

    Sheryl, I’ve been through both systems. My first book was traditionally published- meaning I jumped through all the hoops of studying, editing, securing an agent, publicists, publisher. But when for business ‘reasons’ my published turned down the rest of my series, I went independent. The decision surprised both my agent and me, as my book was selling well.

    However, now as a self-published author, I’m thrown in the mix of ‘unworthy’ by you and Bill Thompson. How come I get sneered at for being a traditionalist turned indie but authors like Barry Eisler or Joe Konrath are accepted? Is it audience size? What difference should that make when I went through the ringer just like they did? That seems a double-standard for my validation to be made invalid.


    Jenny Milchman Reply:

    I just had to say a big hello to Sheryl (of whom I am a fan–talk about a book lover), and also thanks for this reasoned response that truly sees both sides of the issue.


    Steve Piacente Reply:

    I’ll echo that, Jenny. Thanks, Sheryl


  6. Melanie Saxton said,

    Wrote on December 13, 2011 @ 2:53 pm

    Some thoughts. Not to be overly dramatic, but doesn’t it feel like we’re in the civil rights struggle of epublishing? “Separate but equal” means we aren’t yet allowed to drink from the same fountain. We are intentionally excluded. The sign “No self published allowed” seems firmly nailed to the doorways of newspapers. But I believe we will overcome. Times are a ‘changin’ and newspapers will eventually welcome us at the counter (especially if they’ve gone completely digital by then).

    Oh – as for voluntary book reviewers at newspapers, I’m sure many would step forward to review ebooks. For free. Problem solved. No excuses. These reviewers would have carte blanche to call out crap, and God help the hapless author who doesn’t bother with an editor. If we want our work front and center, we better be sure it’s been edited.


    Steve Piacente Reply:

    Aren’t bloggers who read and review books volunteers? Maybe there’s a way for newspapers to set up a network of such folks in their circulation areas. Thanks, Melanie.


  7. Judy said,

    Wrote on December 13, 2011 @ 7:22 pm

    While I understand the constraints placed on an ever-decreasing newsroom staff, I do NOT agree with his blanket dismissal of ALL self-published authors. Look at J.K. Rowling, an unknown author, whose popularity grew because of young readers … not, initially, because of critical acclaim. In fact, I would go so far as to say SOME bestselling authors slip a few notches in quality in some of their later works and are routinely praised simply because of past performance. I agree that it’s next to impossible to know what to review and what not to review, but that’s a challenge that needs to be solved.
    Further, I agree with the comments that anything that gets people reading is a good thing!


    Steve Piacente Reply:

    Yes, and the more they read, the more critical their eye becomes, which is why Indie writers should be prepared for the consideration they’re requesting. Thanks, Judy.


  8. Federico M said,

    Wrote on December 13, 2011 @ 7:44 pm

    This is obviously a “hot topic” –Maybe you can get the women on “The View” to talk about it 🙂 Actually, I think Thompson makes some good points. I’ve published with university presses, “legit” trade publishers, and independently–I’m the same person in all the books, but they are different kinds of books. My self-published book is a book of poems. The American writer Edward Dahlberg (who I wrote my first published book about) once told me, “Mention a volume of verse to a publisher and he regards it as a sinister intimation.” Publishing in the poetry world is largely a lottery…you need to submit your book with a reading fee–usually there are more than a thousand or so submissions, and one, usually a friend or student of one of the judges, gets published. A website–I can’t recall which one–once did an expose on this. Anyway, I think more and more self-publishing will occur in all sorts of genres….but especially in poetry.


    Steve Piacente Reply:

    And as the deluge of self-publishing continues, readers will need a way to help find the best offerings. If newspapers don’t help, someone else will. Thanks for joining the discussion, Fred.


  9. Brian said,

    Wrote on December 13, 2011 @ 10:03 pm

    Excellent article, same for the comments. As with most things in life, there is always a reason behind every decision, good or bad, like it or not. It’s just the way it is, especially to the chagrin of one is on the outside looking in. I agree with Bill in most if not with all of what he had to say, but at times, not necessarily his tone. Being an independent author doesn’t make me colour blind to the reasoning behind the decisions when it comes to independent authors. There is a history of shoddy work from those that came before us and some that still practice the same work ethics. Time constraints, lack of money and resources all contribute to what they will consider and what they deem not worthy of their time and what resources they have at their disposal when one takes into account the volume of books that become available each and every day. Being a newspaper, they too are looking for readers just like us in order to stay afloat, garner interest, and build their coffers. We, as authors, can blame them for how we are mistreated, cast aside like passengers scurrying onto a busy subway car during rush hour if that is how we want to perceive the way in which they treat us but if we were in their shoes and had to make decisions based on the same criteria, what would we do that would be any different? Don’t take me wrong. I agree that every author should be evaluated on their own merits as a writer and their ability to tell a good story using sound grammar instead of being cast aside in a lump but that isn’t always the case. Sometimes I wonder why it is we fight so hard to be where we feel we should be, next to those who have already been noticed. In today’s world, is an agent and/or publishing house that important or relevant as it was ten, twenty years ago? If it isn’t then why do we seek them out? There has to be a reason. I wonder if acceptance is what it is that we are after, thus our plea to be included with those who have an agent and/or a publishing house. Everything takes time. Rome wasn’t built in day. And with that I suggest we keep vigilant in our struggle to be heard and read but at the same time, I also urge all to also be diligent in upping the standards so that we can say, “we are their equal”.


    Steve Piacente Reply:

    Thank you, Brian, here’s to upping the standards and keeping them there!


  10. China said,

    Wrote on December 14, 2011 @ 12:03 am

    My condolences to print media, who are without a doubt having a rough time at present, but as far as newspaper book reviewers, Bill Thompson fails to tell the whole story.

    The fact is that these book reviewers, from the New York Times all the way down to little local papers, prioritize their page space not according to the most well-written book, but according to their corporate relationships with commercial publishers and big-name agents. I won’t go as far as to say they accept kick-backs in exchange for reviews, but there is definitely an established good-old-boy network in place throughout the entire publishing industry.

    Rather than dwell on grievances and conspiracies, however, we should be focusing on SOLUTIONS, for nobody can deny that, just as print media is in its decline, self-publishing and eBooks are increasingly popular; newspaper reviewers simply can not afford to look the other way anymore or risk losing their validity as well as their readership.

    What I propose, then, is that we as independent authors all turn our sights on to the New York Times and convince them to dedicate a page or even just a side bar in their Sunday review section for POD and independently-published works.

    This “separate but equal” policy will legitimize self-publishing while standardizing the review policy for POD books. Local papers will follow suit, and reviewers will no longer have the option to categorically ignore us.

    To be sure, a strict vetting process and a keen eye for good writing must still exist – because more often than not our self-published books are not as good as we like to think they are – but no longer will reviewers be able to toss our works aside just because we don’t have a fast-talking agent or corporate label pushing our books for us.

    Special thanks to Steve Piacente for being pro-active about this issue. We as indie authors need to collectively follow Steve’s example and start contacting New York with our suggestions. We might even call this “Occupy Publishing”.


    Steve Piacente Reply:

    Occupy Publishing. If that’s not a T-shirt, I don’t know what is. Thanks for an interesting perspective, Tom.


  11. Jenny Milchman said,

    Wrote on December 14, 2011 @ 1:51 am

    I don’t see Bill Thompson as arrogant at all–I see him as doing the best he can given an insurmountable problem: there are too many self-published books to add them to the too many traditionally published ones. The numbers are simply too high, and traditional media is going with the odds. Work that is heavily vetted is *likely* be better than work that is not.

    However. Not all traditionally published books are heavily vetted–particularly once the author is established. Many indie volumes come from writers who had been traditionally published and found answers to problems by switching to independent publishing, so in other words, their self-published books are at the level of their traditionally published ones. And finally, there are books that for whatever reason didn’t find the lucky conflagration of factors that resulted in a traditional contract, but are superb.

    I think the only way out of these ‘however’s’ is not to place the burden on the underpaid newspaperman/woman, but for indie authors to band together to come up with a rigorous assessment of quality. Once such content filtering is in place, mainstream media will be able to consider a vastly reduced number of possibilities–and they may find books they love there even more than those they are sent every day.


    Steve Piacente Reply:

    It will be interesting to look back five and 10 years from now and see where all of this settled, Jenny. As a former newspaperman, I don’t like the idea that resources determine coverage. Imagine what would happen if they started applying that calculus to coverage of the statehouse, or congressional delegation, or school board. Oh, wait, that’s already happened, and of course coverage has suffered. You’re right that it’s not Bill’s issue; he’s been dealt a tough hand. But management needs to figure it out because as resources dwindle, new voids are created that others are only too willing to fill.


  12. Marie Harbon said,

    Wrote on December 14, 2011 @ 10:09 pm

    He does raise some valid points, even book bloggers are flooded with review requests and a wait is often the case. Quality varies regardless of whether a book is trad pub or indie, I’ve got a number of trad books that were never finished. Some just got published on the back of another book’s success, e.g. Da Vinci Code, Twilight etc… Quality is an issue for both forms of publishing.


    Steve Piacente Reply:

    So be careful that you’re ready should you get what you ask for, Indies. Thanks, Marie.


  13. Collette Scott said,

    Wrote on December 14, 2011 @ 10:25 pm

    I think that both sides have very valid points. There is a lot of material out there that could still be considered ‘vanity publishing’, but at the same time there are also some very talented writers putting their work out there on their own because they prefer to have control of their work. Even successful published authors, Barbara Freethy just to name one, are going back and publishing their previous works on their own. It’s going to be a continuing theme. So while I sympathize that he has too few people to handle all the requests, I believe that sooner or later he will not have much choice than to start looking at Indies, especially when Indies have ‘big names’ along with them.


    Steve Piacente Reply:

    In other words, Indie talent will ultimately force mainstream media to perk up and take notice, regardless of their resources. Great point, Collette.


  14. Larry "FARfetched" Kollar said,

    Wrote on December 14, 2011 @ 10:32 pm

    That you gave Thompson the consideration that he wouldn’t give you says much about you both. 😉

    I get the point that they’re using unpaid labor to do what they’re doing now. But if it comes down to an old-boy network, as China suggested, then the fix is in and we may as well ignore the newspapers as a review vehicle.

    Still, I think a decent press release might get an author an interview, which could make for a potential sales boost. “Local author” is usually good for a human interest story.


    Steve Piacente Reply:

    A great website, trailer, press release, and pitch should be part of every self-publisher’s arsenal. Thanks, Larry.


  15. Rosie Cochran said,

    Wrote on December 17, 2011 @ 2:43 am

    Thanks, Cassandra and Larry. You expressed it so well.

    I can appreciate the difficulties faced by the newspapers. I don’t wish to discredit their problems. Understandably, it is a difficult field to navigate. Just as all traditionally published books are not equal, neither are self-published books all equal. My issue comes with Indie authors being disregarded simply because they are Indie writers. I would love to see the day come when all books are judged by the quality of their craft, and not by their publisher.

    Even in our frustration, we must remember the common ground we hold with the newspapers and those working there. We all love the written word. We love to put words on paper that inspire people, words that move them to make a stand for a cause, or words that stir an emotional response, whether that be laughter or tears. We may not see eye to eye on all issues, but we all have a passion to write. Let’s not forget our common bond.


    Steve Piacente Reply:

    That’s a good reminder, Rosie. I spent 20-plus years as a daily newspaper reporter. While the end product is different, there is, as you say, a common bond. That’s the place to start building a relationship with mainstream papers.


  16. Naomi B. said,

    Wrote on December 18, 2011 @ 9:26 pm

    I have to say, I am actually really starting to love the world of self publishing and ebook world. It was probably less than two years ago that I SWORE I would never get an ereader and now I have one and am in the process of getting a second. IMO, there are so many authors, that are excellent that are unable to get published for whatever reason.

    Also, for us consumers, we are no longer limited to who the big time publishers feel they want us to read. I have come across many “popular” authors who, IMO, are “washed” up at this point and would be better off to retire, yet the big publishing house machines are able to keep them “propped up” and going with their marketing/PR departments and consumers are forced to happily swallow their works or have the belief that if the sold this many books, boy, they must be awesome.

    Ebooks are no longer that cheap though. I have come across books that I have looked at it/done an earlier read/review of it and when I see it posted, have thought, “they are charging that much for THAT book.” In the meantime, I have come across some authors that I see how much the charge for their ebook and want to email them and say..”you know, I would have purchased that for more because it is that good.” I have also seen situations where it is actually cheaper to buy the print book than it is to buy the e-book…go figure!


    Steve Piacente Reply:

    Technology has changed the landscape, and in many news, newspapers aren’t even on the field anymore, Naomi. As one who came from that world, I hope they wake up soon.


  17. Dannye Williamsen said,

    Wrote on December 24, 2011 @ 7:05 pm

    Reposted from Facebook at your request, Steve…

    He has a job to do with time and financial constraints so lines have to be drawn. I can understand his position. That said, the world is not black and white. You cannot clump all authors or readers into pre-set groups simply because it complies with what works best for you.

    Readers wouldn’t necessarily request that reviewers review self-published works because most readers are only interested in a good read. They don’t differentiate by the publishing track and probably wouldn’t expect a reviewer, who, by his admission, only reviews what he wants to, to care what the reader wants.

    Authors, of course, are not all unprofessional regardless of their level of experience. Also, defining authors by how well they play by the pre-publication rules reviewers and mainstream publishers have set out for their own marketing strategies is a faulty approach. Unlike mainstream publishers, self-publishers are in it for the long haul so we aren’t focused on whether the book pays for itself in the first three months, making our marketing strategies different.

    Frankly, I think self-published authors should continue to find new ways to promote their books because technology is changing the world, and it will change the status quo whether those who adhere to it like it or not. Wasting our time investing energy in justifying our existence to the “old guard” is just that: a waste. Put your energy where it counts!

    I am not placing all self-published authors in one box either. There are just as many SP books that didn’t need to be published when considered in terms of quality of writing as there are traditionally published ones. No matter what track an author follows, he or she must strive for excellence in their work.

    The biggest difference between SP and trad authors is that works that don’t even come close to being ready for public consumption USUALLY receive rejections slips with trad authors, whereas SP authors go ahead and publish anyway. That’s not a criticism, simply an observation, because the rush to publish is what really added fuel to the fire of this controversy.


    Steve Piacente Reply:

    Thanks, Dannye, I saw this comment on your site,, and thought it belonged here as well. I’m beginning to think mainstream papers would do well to take a closer look at the online reviewers in the towns where their papers are based. Perhaps they could hire a few of the most heavily followed bloggers to review self-published books.


  18. Alice DiNizo said,

    Wrote on February 5, 2012 @ 11:18 am

    I have read your comments on self-publishing and agree, especially with Naomi B. There are traditionally published authors who should no longer be writing; their day in the sun is over. There are also self-published and indie authors who should have had their works edited and didn’t. And there are self-published, indies, who have written brilliant books but were just overlooked by the major publishing houses. I write and also review for ReadersFavorite and I have read the great, the good, and the bad.


    Steve Piacente Reply:

    Thanks, Alice, couldn’t agree more. Also, a plug for, which does a great job.


Comment RSS · TrackBack URI

Leave a Comment

Name: (Required)

E-mail: (Required)