I happened to read (for the first time) The Hindu interview I did on August 7, 2015, and was aghast. The writer, obviously, has no clue what self-publishing is all about, despite the long email interview I typed up for her explaining how it all works. Here’s part of her article (obviously her interpretation of the state of publishing):
“We are all familiar with the story of an unpublished writer. He has spent a year or more writing a book, keeping it a secret from almost everyone. Then, he spends another year writing to all the publishers he can find. Soon after, snooty rejection letters start trickling in, and the story ends slowly with the writer getting himself a job.
However, the onset of self-publishing has pierced a severe dent in this clichéd story. Though the “serious” breed of writer will never want the ignominy of having to publish his own work”
Only ‘serious’ work from traditionally published authors? Really?
There are excellent books that traditional publishers have published; that goes without saying. But how do you explain the 50 Shades trilogy, all the ‘campus lit’ books penned by ‘serious’ authors?
I might be wrong, but I don’t recall them being complimented on the quality of their writing (or editing).
Serious Indies (Independent/self published authors) spend serious money on quality editing. To call us ‘non-serious’ is not only elitist, it is derogatory: not the kind of ignorant/disparaging comment I would expect from a newspaper like The Hindu.
I need to put in a note here: I *chose* to self-publish. I declined a traditional publishing contract in order to do that. So this downgrades me from serious to non-serious? Wow! Imagine that!
I have been noticing more and more that these reporters ask for interviews, then cut and paste things out of context. One of the interviews I did with The Times of India talked about self-publishing in the same breath as vanity publishing. This, despite the fact I took the time to explain the difference. That paragraph was just hacked off, probably because it didn’t fit in the word count prescribed for the article.
I don’t want to turn this into a battle between ‘us’ (the Indies) and ‘them’ (the traditionally published). All of us work hard on our books and deserve to be judged by the quality of our writing, and not how we chose to be published.
I’m seriously ticked off. I think it is time ‘serious’ Indies in India talked about this. I’ll be at the Publishing Next conference in Goa, Sept 11-12. If you want to discuss this, please find me at my panel and we’ll connect.
Three different things caught my attention this past month.
First, I get a message from someone (who shall remain nameless and genderless) that Person has found a great literary agent, a go-getter. Totally worth the Rs. 20,000 ($324) the literary agent demanded as ‘assessment fee’. Anyway, Person is not worried because the agent has promised to get Person’s money back when (not if) they sign up with a publisher. The contract also states that once Person signs on, Person may not approach publishers directly. Person states – “The Literary Agent said she will recover the money from the publisher and we agreed that every transaction will be above board hereon. Of course she insists that the practice is a done-thing in the Publishing world.”
Two things here:
1. It is unethical for literary agents to demand money. Honest literary agents make money after they secure a deal for you. That’s what the lifetime cut in royalties the agent gets (from your book royalties) is for.
2. Secondly, this practice is NOT a done thing in the publishing world. The literary agent alludes to it herself when she says that every transaction will be above board hereon, implying that the current transaction is not.
I wish the publishing industry were as with-the-times as the scamming industry.
Secondly – The amazing David Gaughran steps up to the plate with yet another must-read article for anyone considering self-publishing. He warns Indies against blindly trusting self-publishing outfits just because they happen to be aligned with known traditional publishing houses. Do yourself a favour and READ this article.
Last, but not least, Joe Konrath tells you why you should NEVER pay anyone to help you self-publish. Click here to read the article.