I subscribe to several online groups on book promotion and publishing whose members post regularly. What surprises me is that even though many—and in some cases all—members are self-publishers, the majority seem to agree that most self-published books are second-rate or worse, and that they don’t deserve to be given equal treatment by reviewers, contests, etc.
Now I’m willing to agree with the critics of self-published books that there is a lot of bad writing out there—especially fiction, and especially from subsidy publishers. And I can understand why reviewers faced with piles of dreadful novels decide to close the doors that those books come through. They are already overloaded with books to read and review, so why not make their job easier by refusing to look at books from certain companies, or even from any so-called “non-traditional” publishers?
But as an author who owns her own publishing company, I’m not willing to accept being lumped into a group and labeled deficient. Every book is unique. While as a group, self-published books may be inferior, many individual self-published books are well-written and worth reading. I think self-publishers must stand up and insist on having our books judged on their individual merit.
Some self-publishers say we shouldn’t speak out against unequal treatment because by doing so we are calling attention to ourselves and associating ourselves with writers who have produced bad books. They say if we put our attention on creating good books, the barriers will eventually come down.
But how long is eventually? I’m not willing to wait. Are you?