How can we bridge the gap and give both professions more courtesy and respect they deserve?
I chose to address the second question first because its implication answers the first question. We’re asked to bridge the gap, give courtesy and respect to two different PROFESSIONS (?): SP writers and ‘traditionally’ published writers (?) The fact that the latter doesn’t even have an abbreviation (that I’m familiar with), speaks of the distinction. I fear this prejudice to be wide-spread. For example: I turned eight years old in 1974, and decided then that I wanted to write story-books. Since then I dreamed of the day that I’d open an envelope, find an acceptance letter, and leap in the air for two-weeks-straight like a Publisher’s-Clearing-House winner. OF COURSE anyone who’d PAY to be published MUST be a loser! Then in January of this year I’d read something that made me Google . . .
Do you feel there is a stigmatism that says, “self-published writers aren’t as good of writers as ‘traditionally’ published writers”?
“In 1994 Barnes & Noble reported that books from the 10 largest publishers accounted for thee quarters of their purchases. By 1997 these 10 leaders accounted for less than half of the books bought.”–Jump Start Your Book Sales, by Marilyn and Tom Ross.
Indies and SPs are biting into traditional houses’ market shares, which is why the big boys only solicit famous authors, why it’s harder than ever for a new author to receive an acceptance letter, and why Random House has entered the POD game. RH is either trying to snatch up all the little fish, or has entered into the if-you-can’t-beat-em-join-em wisdom. Even if a ‘traditional’ house accepts an author, all they get is a little shotgun marketing; you’re accepted not because you’re good, but because you can sell books. The days of holing-up with a muse and a keyboard in a comfortable apartment, are over. The only person who’s going to publish a new author is the new author. This concept is what changed my mind about SP.
I’ve also seen Peter Bowerman’s self-publishing strategy reflected in the January’s Writer’s Digest (cover story I think, but the cat messed on it and we had to toss it out). The upshot is that internet has forever changed the industry because SPs now have access to all the privileged information that used to keep us at the mercy of thepedestaled ‘traditional’ houses. I own a 2002 Writer’s Market (stop laughing), and in that year compiled a list of Christian Fiction publishers. In 2004 I subscribed to WM online, and discovered that MORE THAN HALF of the publishers on my list were either out of business, or ceased accepting unsolicited unagented manuscripts. As long as one has a polished edited manuscript and successfully creates market demand, booksellers will be driven to the SP. I’ve spent a decade on Flashpoint, and now I’ve CHOSEN to make five dollars per copy instead of bowing before the altar of tradition, and netting less than one dollar. In order to use the talents He’s invested in me as a full-time income in our modern world, I have to make ends-meet, and pay the bills. If I can do that on one fifth the book-sales of tradition, then SP seems the wiser choice.
From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down I was convulsed with laughter. Some day I intend reading it. — Groucho Marx