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What a Difference A Year Makes

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The New York Times had an interesting article about Kathleen McGowan. Last year at BEA, McGowan was a self-published author who paid her own way to the convention and “‘had to really beg people to come talk to you.’ Returning to the couple’s hotel room one night, she broke down in tears. ‘I was, like, is there any point for us to be here? I felt like I was giving people my book, and they didn’t even want it.'” This year, she went to BEA with a seven-figure advance in hand. It’s a nice article about how someone’s publishing fortunes can change in a year.

And while we’re somewhat on the subject, my post Why People Hate Self Published Authors generated a lot of interesting commentary and discussion. But I’ve been a bit dismayed that a small percentage of readers thought I was denigrating the very thought of self-publishing, in any and every form, as utilized by any and every writer.

In spite of comments such as “In the right conditions, handled properly, with realistic attitudes, self-publishing can be a viable business decision” and “Second, not every one, but some self-published authors invite the very ridicule they hate” and “Some self-published authors” and “They are living proof that self-publishing, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. On the contrary, it can be quite effective and lucrative. Unfortunately, these reasonable self-publishing advocates suffer the indignities brought on by their obsessed ‘published author’ colleagues,” these readers seemed to think I was against the very Platonic ideal of self-publishing. Maybe my admittedly inflammatory title of the post was a little too attention grabbing.

I suppose it’s just the nature of debate that there are going to be people who think only in absolutes. For the record, I have nothing against self-publishing itself. I do however chafe at the small percentage of self-published authors whose behavior tarnishes the whole enterprise for everyone. But there are plenty of valid, honorable, and worthwhile self-published projects out there. I met a few of these positive examples at BEA and in the interest of equal time, I want to give them a voice in the discussion as well. So keep an eye out for those interviews to appear soon.