Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Beware of Overgeneralizations

I appreciate that publicity expert Bella Stander responded to my August 23 blog about being excluded from her Publicity 101 workshops because I am a self-published author. (You can read her comments below my August 23 blog entry, "No Self-Published Authors Allowed.") But I do not appreciate the line of thinking she expressed in her comments.

She maintains that in the past she did allow self-published authors into her workshops, but "their books were so poorly written, produced and distributed that they had no chance of success in the marketplace." Obviously I can't speak to the quality and/or market success of the books written and published by the self-published authors who came to her workshops. But I can say that it is neither accurate nor fair to assume that they represent the universe of self-published books.

Many authors have chosen to self-publish books that have become big success stories in terms of numbers of copies sold and/or selling the rights to a major publisher after originally self-publishing. Here are some examples:

  • The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield

  • The One-Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson

  • Life's Little Instruction Book by H. Jackson Brown

  • The Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer

  • What Color is Your Parachute by Richard Nelson Bolles

  • In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters

  • The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans

  • Invisible Life by E. Lynn Harris

  • My Brother's Keeper by ReShonda Tate Billingsley

  • What's Wrong with Dorfman? by John Blumenthal

  • Familiar Quotations by John Bartlett

  • The Whole Earth Catalog by Stewart Brand

  • Legally Blonde by Amanda Brown

  • The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

  • The Lazy Man's Guide to Enlightenment by Thaddeus Golas

  • Life 101 by Peter McWilliams

You can find lots more of these on John Kremer's Self-Publishing Hall of Fame These books obviously had the potential for success in their original self-published form. We know that because they actually became successful books in the marketplace. So weeding out self-published books from contests, conferences, workshops and such would have eliminated these books as well as their lower-quality companions. And that would have been a mistake.

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