Friday, June 24, 2005

There's Room for More Books!

Recently I had the good fortune to hear a speech on writing voice by debut romance author Jessica Trapp at a meeting of the Houston Bay Area Romance Writers of America, of which I am a member. I found the presentation fun and thought-provoking, but as a self-published author, my mind wrapped itself around one little phrase Ms. Trapp repeated more than once. She told us all that "there is room for more good books". And while she certainly wasn’t speaking directly to me, it felt as though she was.

I was Googling myself recently and noticed that I was mentioned on the page of another author. Curious of course, I immediately clicked on the link and began reading. And while I suppose what e-pubbed author Ellen Fisher had to say on her blog was technically complimentary, it didn’t really feel that way. It seemed to be implying that while my efforts appeared promising, still I was a self-published author, and thus hardly worthy of notice.

Intrigued that apparently self-publishing had been the topic for some recent blog discussion, I clicked the links that Ms. Fisher referenced and found myself reading with growing disbelief. It seems that neither Karen Gillespie and Wendy Duren believe that there is room for more books unless they have languished on the desk of a New York house. You’ll have to read their comments to get the whole story, but as far as I can tell, they are willing to discount anyone who has gone it alone.

My self-published novel Unladylike Pursuits has been praised by Booklist and Affaire de Coeur, as well as a slew of internet review sites. Don’t the opinions of reviewers count for anything?

What about buyers? My press Impress Ink is an accepted vendor with Baker & Taylor, and my book is carried by Barnes & Noble and Waldenbooks. Does that not somehow legitimize my efforts?

What about the fact that I did everything on my own (not discounting my husband)—from ARC submittal to ISBN registration, editing and formatting to cover design, invoicing, marketing, packing & shipping, web design and, of course, promotion? I think I at least deserve a little respect.

I may be an upstart, but I agree with Ms. Trapp’s assessment, that "there is room for more good books". It shouldn’t matter how they reach the marketplace—you shouldn’t judge a book by its publisher…


Ellen Fisher said...

Hi, Alyssa:-). What I said on my blog was that MOST self-pubbed excerpts I've seen on the Internet have, sad to say, been horrible. Yours, OTOH, was quite good, although there was a particular aspect to your writing I didn't like (the use of three dialogue tags using strong verbs in the space of three paragraphs), which I mentioned in my blog entry. That's a personal taste issue as much as anything, and it might not bother another reader at all.

Overall, your writing (based on the excerpt) seemed tight and competent. My exact comments were, "I am definitely intrigued. It's nice to know that there are self-pubbed authors out there who can turn out a reasonably professional site and product," which I really don't think suggests that I see you as somehow unworthy of notice because you're self-published. Furthermore, when I said, "It seems to me the excerpt has promise," I wasn't suggesting that you had promise in the sense that this wasn't a "real" book, but simply that I hadn't read the full book and couldn't fairly judge based on a short excerpt. This is also why I said "reasonably professional" in the above quote-- without reading the full book, it's impossible for me to know for sure exactly how professionally it reads. I do love your site design and cover, though... theylooks great.

Hope this helps clarify my thoughts. Good luck with your book!

Ellen Fisher said...

Aaaargh... that would be "they look great" in the last paragraph. Too many kids in the house, too many distractions when I'm typing *g*.

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