Morning Coffee – 18 March 2015

1465803856_e0cd143ff1_m[1]Here are 7 stories to read this morning.

image by justgrimes



About Nate Hoffelder (11472 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

10 Comments on Morning Coffee – 18 March 2015

  1. The School Library Journal piece does bring up a nasty Catch-22, doesn’t it.
    Gatekept out by the publishing establishment and then criticized for bypassing it.
    Good one.

  2. Regarding “Black Authors and Self-Publishing” : There are many examples of writers complaining that they are being rejected by traditional publishers, published in this blog. In this case it seems the cause is that the author is a “Black feminist writer committed to social justice” and that apparently major publishers are “White”.
    What it seems strange to me is that with more than 300 million persons living in the USA, there are no publishers that cater to the specific self-clasification of the author, and other “minority” groups in the USA. Or join other self-published authors in creating such publishers. Or start ePub publishing.
    Disclosure: I’m not a citizen of the USA nor live there. Nor have I written books.

    • Us tradpublishing is heavily concentrated under 5 multinational conglomerates headquartered in manhattan and responding to mandates from their mostly foreign-owned paymasters.
      That does not make for much diversity in culture, viewpoints, or opinions or responsiveness to local tastes.

      To put it bluntly:
      It isn’t just the odd “Black feminist writer committed to social justice” that has issues with manhattan publishing. Plenty of other ethnic and cultural groups have similar gripes and have similarly taken to indie publishing to get their narratives out. Techies, for one. 🙂

      • I’m quite aware of what you say. But it doesn’t answer my implicit question of why there are not one or more non-“traditional” publishers.
        I may be wrong, but wasn’t there a similar problem in music several decades ago? Am I wrong in believing that Black musicians publish in not-“White” publishers?

        • As she points out in the article, non-traditional channels are disrespected by the very people tradpublishing neglects.
          They exist, but her crowd only sees validation in the channel that wants nothing to do with them.
          Hence, as I pointed out, a Catch-22.

    • What it seems strange to me is that with more than 300 million persons living in the USA, there are no publishers that cater to the specific self-clasification of the author, and other “minority” groups in the USA.

      They exist. They’re small, but they’re there. The problem (and the point she doesn’t emphasize enough in favor of the publishing aspect) is getting your work in libraries and where the general public can see them. Those places don’t turn their noses up at the subject matter so much as the lone writer going and saying, “Please let me display here. It won’t cost you anything.” They can sniff out self-published in a heartbeat and they won’t give you a chance to show them what you’ve done.

      Reviewers, too, but I’ll blame social justice warriors for that. If you don’t write the commenters’ (blog audience’s) experience, you’re not authentic or you’ve got internalized racism and you’re self-hating. If you’re white, don’t try to write people of color because you don’t know anything, even if you think you do. If you’re white and you DON’T write people of color, you’re racist. At least you could TRY. If you’re white and you write secondary characters who are people of color, it’s auto-caricature.

      A non-POC example from my own experience: I wrote a Spanish matador character. Someone who claimed to be from Spain assumed I had written Spanish people with “snapping black eyes” and some other thing she said was a cliché and then went on to explain matadors and assumed I got it all wrong because she didn’t like how the blurb was worded. So she was disparaging everything I wrote based on the blurb and her own assumptions.

      There are a lot of Catch-22s in the mix. Certainly, race must be one of them, but I feel for her deeply because it’s about visibility and you’re barred from places the public accesses because you’re SELF-PUBLISHED. She focused on the wrong target.

  3. First, thank you for putting in the link to the article from School Library Journal, and for the link to the Model View Culture post. I found a new author to consider donating to my local library (and maybe my nieces!), and a new blog to follow.

    I work at a small public library, and what the author in the SLJ piece said is very, very true: public libraries usually require a positive review from a traditional trade journal before they will consider buying a book. Trade journals generally only review books from traditional publishers. Therefore, very, very few indie published or even small publisher books will ever find their way to public library bookshelves. Partially this is because libraries depend on the positive review to back them up if someone challenges a book in the library’s collection. Partially because there are just so many books being published, even just by the traditional bigger publishers, that it is hard for libraries to decide what to buy with their extremely limited funding.

    My husband and I publish his novels, and the attitude of most public libraries toward indie published (or self published) authors is not encouraging. I am happy to say that my library does support local indie authors by encouraging them to have book sales and events at the library, and we have a special collection of books written by local authors, both traditionally and indie published. But my library does not buy the local authors’ books; we can only accept donations. Part of that is the funding, part of that is the demand to justify every purchase. No reviews, no purchase. And an Amazon or GoodReads review is not considered “authoritative” enough to be used.

    It is definitely a struggle, for many reasons and for many people.

    • And at the same time libraries marginalize small presses and indies, they gripe about the manhattan mafia’s oppressive pricing and licensing.
      It’s the whole validation thing, I suppose. 🙁

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