Indie News: "Real Authors" and You

What's the difference between an author and a book writer? One HuffPo blogger opines that if you're self-published, you certainly aren't the former. In a post titled "Are Self-published Authors Really Authors or Even Published?" he explores the relative merit of not the books themselves, but the scribblers who create them.

Getting Real

Dr. Jim Taylor (University of San Francisco adjunct faculty) says that self-publishing allows "anyone with a computer and a small amount of money to call themselves authors."

The sentiment isn't far from wrong, but Taylor is certainly wrong when he says "despite their warts" the publishing industry is "an initial arbiter of literary quality," and points to different quality standards in the traditional publishing industry, as compared to indies.

And I pretty much disagree. I've read atrocious books that were traditionally published, stuff that's riddled with grammatical and punctuation errors. In one book I still have, the characters call each other the wrong names for darn near three whole pages. It's outrageous. I've also come across my fair share of wholly predictable, badly-written and just plain unreadable books that were all published traditionally, and some by big names to boot. Taylor waxes poetic about the thoroughly-vetted nature of traditionally-published books, but I think many avid readers would also disagree with him on this point. 

Publishers aren't the literary tastemakers of this world. Nor are the agents. And though she does have influence, neither is Oprah Winfrey. The readers are. 

The great success of self-publishing is obvious: the world wouldn't know about people like Amanda Hocking and EL James otherwise. They've sold more books than many of those "real" authors who cram the virtual bookshelves and make it all the harder to find the really great reads.

If you publish on your blog, if you publish on KDP, if you publish through Simon and Schuster, you are an author. Don't let anyone tell you any different. Anyone who writes a book from beginning to end and then puts it out there for the world, in any sort of way whatsoever, is an author. And to hell with anyone who says they aren't.

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  1. I love that last paragraph. I think that Dr Jim Taylor is overlooking that fact that 200/300 years ago, self-publishing was common place (of course it's possible I'm making that up!)

  2. Good point, Annalisa! Lots of big names got their start through self-publishing, going back centuries!