‘m interrupting my usually scheduled post because I recently read that author Sue Grafton said of self published authors that we were quote: “…Too lazy to do the hard work” and that it is “…disrespectful to think that this is so easy…” and it got me thinking… see while she may have been the first to really say so publicly, she’s probably not the only one in the publishing industry (or really anywhere who thinks this), which leads to a bigger problem entirely, people have a very wrong perception of how self publishing works.
So… I decided to write her an open letter (which I suspect she will never see but I’m writing nonetheless).
Dear Ms. Grafton,
While I appreciate that everyone is entitled to their own opinions and that self publishing has in the past had a rather colorful history I suggest you do a little more research on what it is we actually have to do in order to get our books out there. For authors like myself who are truly serious about this, and who have in fact done the “hard work” of which you speak in trying to break into the publishing industry only to find it clogged by already big name authors such as yourself, self publishing has provided us with an opportunity to have our work seen and heard by potentially millions of readers as opposed to none. Furthermore there is a great deal of work that goes into self publishing a book, more than you might realize. We as self published authors must wear many hats, we are our own designers, we are the marketing, the advertising, the sales representatives, P.R., editorial, cover designer, interior book designer, web designer, ebook designer, and of course let’s not forget still the author on top of all of that. I confess there are many in this industry who do not put forth the same amount of effort as others, though I feel you should also concede that many on your side of the publishing industry are often lax as well. Some of the biggest names in the traditional publishing world are those that the self publishing side is rather grateful not to have produced. Arguably it is easier to get into traditional publishing because all you have to do is be moderately well known, regardless of talent.
To read her full statement check out this article about her statements on the Guardian.
She has since of course back peddled a bit on her stance, but I don’t think that should really excuse it, do you?