Every time I start to think that Porter Anderson might have a point when he tells indie authors that there's no need to proselytize any more, or that self-pub is being oversold, a post like the following crosses my desk.
Iain S Thomas wrote for The Huffington Post today about his struggles to get his first book published. Tell me if you see what's wrong here:
Here's what I believed when I was trying to get my first publishing deal:
There is a cabal of writers and publishers purposefully keeping me out. Every successful writer is part of this cabal. They know who I am and they hate what I write because it is too good and they feel threatened by me and my work. I'm just too brilliant. Too edgy. Too innovative and new.
Of course, I never verbalized this or said it in my head in this specific way or perhaps I would've realized how ridiculous and narcissistic and petty it sounds. But there was always a feeling of something being incredibly unfair, and if I give words to that feeling, then that is the feeling and those are the words, however delusional they may sound now. I never realized, at the time, how much comfort there was inside that feeling because it absolved me completely of any and all responsibility for my success or failure.
While we could share a chuckle over the irony of an author taking responsibility for his own success or failure in attempting to hand control over his success to a publisher, I didn't write this post to set Thomas up for ridicule.
The point I wanted to make was that he discussed this solely in terms of a traditional publishing contract. While I am sure he is aware of all of his options (including self-pub), his post still assumes that there is but a single option.
That kind of blind spot is exactly why indie authors need to keep proselytizing. Without the constant reminder that authors have multiple options for getting their work on the market and in the hands of readers, new authors will come in to the industry with the assumption that the only way to succeed is to sign with a publisher.
That simply isn't true, and indie authors need to keep saying that.
image by HikingArtist.com