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Author Topic: Self-Publishing: An Insult to the Written Word  (Read 3853 times)

Offline Lanko

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Self-Publishing: An Insult to the Written Word
« on: December 31, 2016, 09:52:46 AM »
A British (?) newspaper published this article, which got tons of reactions: Self-Publishing: An Insult to the Written Word

The curious thing some mentioned is that she's also a professional editor (charges for pro rates) complaining about the lack of gatekeepers, which caused many to interpret the article with some personal finance motivation.

The comments are also interesting to read.
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Offline ScarletBea

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Re: Self-Publishing: An Insult to the Written Word
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2016, 10:45:30 AM »
So she basically assumes that:
all self-published books = bad
all trad-published books = good
 ::)
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Offline Quill

Re: Self-Publishing: An Insult to the Written Word
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2016, 02:39:43 PM »
The day I feel inferior in the realm of literature to someone writing memoirs and travel articles, is the day they bury me.
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Offline m3mnoch

Re: Self-Publishing: An Insult to the Written Word
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2016, 03:36:46 PM »
ow.  that's brutal.

i guess he's never seen the movie the martian.

Offline Nora

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Re: Self-Publishing: An Insult to the Written Word
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2016, 04:49:47 PM »
ow.  that's brutal.

i guess he's never seen the movie the martian.

My thoughts exactly. Andy Weir must be biting his fingers off for not having gone with trad publishing right?
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Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: Self-Publishing: An Insult to the Written Word
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2016, 05:01:29 PM »
Successful, inexpensive publicity stunt that will pay some dividends. Not advocating it, but there's no issue here imho. Might as well have lamented home grown vegetable gardens.
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Offline m3mnoch

Re: Self-Publishing: An Insult to the Written Word
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2016, 05:48:55 PM »
The day I feel inferior in the realm of literature to someone writing memoirs and travel articles, is the day they bury me.

so, you're saying her traditionally published books aren't making you jealous?



Offline Quill

Re: Self-Publishing: An Insult to the Written Word
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2016, 06:26:16 PM »
The day I feel inferior in the realm of literature to someone writing memoirs and travel articles, is the day they bury me.

so, you're saying her traditionally published books aren't making you jealous?



Edit: I misread your post, maybe because I was browsing on my phone and didn't see it properly, never mind me :)
« Last Edit: January 01, 2017, 12:15:05 AM by Tanniel »
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Offline Lu Kudzoza

Re: Self-Publishing: An Insult to the Written Word
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2016, 07:16:13 PM »
The day I feel inferior in the realm of literature to someone writing memoirs and travel articles, is the day they bury me.

so, you're saying her traditionally published books aren't making you jealous?



This book is ranked 7.5M in the amazon book store. Her other travel book is above 2M. Wow. Looks like millions of indie authors outsell her.

Offline Lady Ty

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Re: Self-Publishing: An Insult to the Written Word
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2016, 10:17:48 PM »
Many bloggers or minor writers contribute free articles to Huff Post purely to get visibility Huff do pay their staff but majority of contributors submit articles free to  use it for publicity as it has a huge click bait distribution on social media.. This person is quite probably one of those as most people have probably never heard of her until now. Judging by subject matter of her books and extremely ill informed post I will forget her immediately.

Added  later - Hahaha This new article says it all and the comments are even better.

Quote
Congratulations, Laurie Gough!
You’ve just alienated three-quarters of the publishing industry.

http://www.itsjoehunt.com/huffpost-blogger-attacks-self-published-authors/

She has now also made it worse by saying she is Canadian and it was different in US letting loose a hurricane from Canadian Indies who are furious with her. Oh boy, if she hadn't been so arrogant and smug I could almost feel sorry for her she has dug herself in so deep.

Darn, this was meant to be my year of sweetness and light.  Fat chance :P
« Last Edit: January 01, 2017, 12:08:49 AM by Lady_Ty »
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Offline cupiscent

Re: Self-Publishing: An Insult to the Written Word
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2017, 12:15:49 AM »
Is it the article's point that people are objecting to, or the abrasive way in which she's stated it? Because in core message, it strikes me as rather similar to the flow-chart argument that was posted here on FF not that long ago.

Offline tebakutis

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Re: Self-Publishing: An Insult to the Written Word
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2017, 12:51:24 AM »
Is it the article's point that people are objecting to, or the abrasive way in which she's stated it? Because in core message, it strikes me as rather similar to the flow-chart argument that was posted here on FF not that long ago.

In regards to Cupiscent's thought on similarities to the arguments made here on F-F, I think Overlord's post avoided this problem because it was advice, not an insult, and written in a way that was not an ultimatum. Overlord also acknowledged people have found success in self-publishing, which this author completely disregards (all the more annoying because a cursory Google search would have helped her avoid this error).

Having read the article myself, like you, I agree with some of her points, but it also seems obvious she did absolutely no research about the current state of self/indie-publishing. She makes essentially the same argument as Overlord: your first book is likely not going to be your best (mine wasn't publishable, so thank goodness I never self-pubbed it!) and becoming a publishable writer takes practice and time (editors only started buying my stories five or six years ago, even though I'd been writing for thirty). That's always good advice to give people.

This author's mistake was making the blanket statement that all self-published authors/books are terrible (an insult to the written word!) because SOME self-published work isn't very good. Let's be honest - I've read some terrible traditional press books as well. That doesn't make all traditional press books terrible.

Perhaps as part of making herself feel superior due to being published by a traditional press, she convinced herself no skilled author would ever self-publish (oh, how icky!) when, in today's market, there are countless reasons they might - and people rightly called her on it.

Also, her argument regarding musicians self-publishing falls apart under even cursory examination. She says that she's not a good singer, and if she self-published a CD, it would suck ... which is true. But that does not mean that everyone who's ever published an indie CD is not a good singer! There's plenty of great singers who went indie and hit it big.

Stating "if one person who does something isn't good at it, all people who do that same thing must not be good at it" is just a ridiculous argument no matter how you frame it.

However, I do think she has learned the error of her ways, so I hope the Internet lynch mob moves on after a few days. I'm never comfortable with large scale harassment of folks for sharing opinions - pointing out the flaws in their argument and moving on should be enough.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2017, 01:02:40 AM by tebakutis »

Offline Lady Ty

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Re: Self-Publishing: An Insult to the Written Word
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2017, 01:23:03 AM »
I honestly think it was the generally ignorant tone of the article  that has got her into such hot water and truly to make a sweeping opening statement like

Quote
I’d rather share a cabin on a Disney cruise with Donald Trump than self-publish.
is thoughtlessly rude. Then follow up with


Quote
To get a book published in the traditional way, and for people to actually respect it and want to read it —
is so condescending. Then this:

Quote
have nothing against people who want to self-publish, especially if they’re elderly. Perhaps they want to write their life story and have no time to learn how to write well enough to be published traditionally. It makes a great gift for their grandchildren

At this point I spat chips.

Sorry to all my friends here please stop writing your glorious epics and sf s and grimdarks. Leave indie publishing to me . I must rush off and write a family history for my grandkids and publish it because I'm so anxious to bore the world to bits with yet another atory about how we walked to school through the snow while the bombs fell at night......

No sympathy here, cupiscent and tebakutis, she is not a youngster too smart for her boots, she is old enough to know better and  I hope she gets a good hard lesson in humility and the need to research.
“This is the problem with even lesser demons. They come to your doorstep in velvet coats and polished shoes. They tip their hats and smile and demonstrate good table manners. They never show you their tails.” 
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Offline Lanko

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Re: Self-Publishing: An Insult to the Written Word
« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2017, 01:23:28 AM »
Overlord's article was vastly different from the one in the Huffington Post.

http://fantasy-faction.com/2015/why-i-dont-generally-recommend-self-publishing-to-beginners

It focuses on aspects of self-publishing or illusions people might have about it. He even says "for beginners".

Quote
I also don’t think that any individual is egotistical enough to think that they can do the job of agent, editor, marketer, production manager, distribution manager, sales person, etc. all by themselves and to the high standards of trained, experienced professionals who have earned their jobs in the top publishing houses around the world.

Quote
An Editor / Agent turned their book down.

If you refuse to acknowledge that an editor or agent doesn’t feel your work is ready to be released upon the reading public and do it anyway you are robbing yourself of acting on professional feedback that will allow you to grow.

Quote
Others suggested that this one book may help you build a following and then be picked up by a publisher. Again, it could, but you could just write another book/keep improving the first one after learning from the rejection. There is also a real danger that if you publish a book and it doesn’t sell then you are proving that your work isn’t selling and I can guarantee agents will take that into account. It is also mentally tough to have a book on a shelf that sells 10 copies, I’m told.

Quote
My opinion is though that for every one person who does become a success thanks to the increase and ease of self-publishing, hundreds upon hundreds will choose it as the easy opinion and not learn the correct way of responding to rejection – picking yourself up and refining what you tried before or trying something new to achieve the original goal. This is sad because it means some writers who were destined to write great novels that they were going to sell to hundreds of thousands of readers will instead self-publish, get discouraged at a lack of sales and give up writing.

She's not wrong about writing requiring a lot of time (years or decades), but her view on gatekeepers (specially being one) is wrong, as if they weren't human and fallible like us, or that the writer in question couldn't hire a freelancer editor... like her. And she even mentions she came upon manuscripts to edit, so it's kinda of baffling. While is true editing can only improve a bad story to a certain point, she just generalized it.

Also, she totally disregarded all the problematic practices in traditional publishing - perhaps she's totally oblivious to it - and how a lot of authors in self-publishing do much better than traditional ones.
To be fair, Overlord's article also doesn't cover this aspect as to another reason authors self-publish.

Anyway, this guy pretty much nailed it:

Quote
If you think the "gatekeepers" are there to preserve the integrity of modern literature, you are either willfully gullible or just another paid spokesperson desperately trying to preserve the antiquated status quo.

Self-publishing continues to thrive not just due to its cheap accessibility, but primarily because the establishment routinely rejects anything experimental, transgressive, or otherwise "risky" as a marketable product, and a growing portion of the target audience is weary of being spoon fed the same old contrived, cloned, pre-fab, over-priced packages of "safe," derivative, movie-ready, mainstream-pandering cash-grabs.

The major publishers have proven time and again over many years they are not interested in art for art's sake. The only option for authors that wish to produce and share work that is honest and true to their own visions is to publish it themselves.

The traditional gatekeepers are just upset they're being creatively circumvented, and their exclusive club is not only losing membership, but prestige and power. Sure, self-publishing is rife with amateurs, but a lot of so-called "acceptable" books are also plauged with bad writing and sloppy editing - but since they've been "officially" vetted for mass appeal if not literary quality, they are deemed superior to the more sincere work of independents. This crass commercialism is the true threat to the written word.

The ultimate arbiters of literature going forward will be the only gatekeepers that truly matter: the readers. If a self-published book is filled with typos, unrealistic characters and ridiculous plot twists, it will fail. If not, it will succeed. That's how it should be. The only insult here is to the intelligence of the discriminating consumer.

« Last Edit: January 01, 2017, 01:43:08 AM by Lanko »
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Offline tebakutis

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Re: Self-Publishing: An Insult to the Written Word
« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2017, 03:15:17 AM »
Quote
The ultimate arbiters of literature going forward will be the only gatekeepers that truly matter: the readers. If a self-published book is filled with typos, unrealistic characters and ridiculous plot twists, it will fail. If not, it will succeed. That's how it should be. The only insult here is to the intelligence of the discriminating consumer.

That's an excellent summary ... in fact, I recall saying that pretty much verbatim at some point in the past. Traditional publishing *used* to be the only way to because e-books and quality PoD didn't exist.

Once those services became widely available, as did e-readers and sites like Amazon, all authors gained access to quality paper binding, zero up front print costs (PoD), and an infinitely long bookshelf on which their book can be displayed (Amazon and other sites).

With today's technology, the only things limiting the success of an author is how well they can write and market. How their actual books/e-books are made and distributed is no longer a factor.