Last night, while laying in bed with my dog and cat, avoiding writing by surfing the interwebs I stumbled across this article. I even commented on it. If you haven’t read it, I suggest you don’t waste your time, it’s really nothing more than an elitist looking down her nose at those of us who choose to self-publish. I highly recommend perusing the comments and finding how many rather famous authors chose to try to enlighten a woman who thinks we who self-publish do nothing more than provide”insult to the written word, the craft of writing, and the tradition of literature”.
I could go on a rant about how wrong she is but it’s already been done here, and is far better than a self-published, craftless wannabe such as myself is capable of providing on this forum.
What I will do is provide a few facts about Laurie Gough, the “award-winning author of three memoirs, journalist, and travel writer”. Ms. Gough has published three memoirs using traditional publication. She’s a mother, a freelance editor, and according to her website she has written for a wide array of publications. However, I wanted to know more about Ms. Gough’s work. I wanted to see how wonderful these three traditionally published books are in comparison to some of the self-published authors I read. So I went to my favorite online book store and chose three self-published authors that I enjoy (Kristen Painter, Jessie Donovan, and V. L. Cooke [shocking, I know]). I compared the number of reviews each author has and here’s what I came up with:
- Laurie Gough – 3 books traditionally published – 53 reviews. The three are ranked in the Kindle store at 200,286, 2,081,016, and 1,457,315.
- Jesse Donovan – Approximately 18 books (I may have miscounted) – 2,186 reviews. I didn’t check each one for their ranking but I did check the one with the least amount of reviews and the one with the most. They ranked at 240,617 (paid Kindle store) and 1,810 (free Kindle store).
- Kristen Painter – A formerly traditionally published author who chooses to self-publish now – Approximately 25 books (again it’s late and I probably miscounted) – 4,980 reviews. Using the same formula as the previous author the books with the highest and lowest number of reviews placed at 1,272 (free Kindle store) and 518,522 (paid Kindle store).
- V. L. Cooke – Self-published one book – 3 reviews. 551,396 in the paid Kindle store.
So, taking my egotistical, self-congratulatory inclusion out of the picture, we have two authors, one of whom self-publishes after being traditionally published for years and another who self-publishes exclusively. Both of whom have far more reviews, more books, and better rankings than the one who looks down her nose at those of us who choose to self-publish.
Also, she chose to quote an author who says some pretty rude things about wannabes who self-publish and who had to repost an apology that is four years old to make sure that people understand that she was not being deliberately rude, she just didn’t understand self-publishing after having spent her entire writing career in the traditional publishing world.
So what have we learned from my little investigation? 1.) I’m vain and have to include myself in a list of authors I have no right being in because I am too lazy to come up with anyone else to fill the spot; 2.) Some authors are literary snobs who think that those who self-publish damage the written word; 3.) There are self-published authors who will laugh about this author’s views, while sitting in bed working on their next book to self-publish; and 4.) I will do anything to avoid writing when my characters and I have a difference of opinion.
For those of you who read this blog and intend to self-publish please realize this author’s views, while wrong, are held by many in the publishing world. Develop a thick skin, learn to take criticism with a smile, and please find a good editor. Do your best to be a shining light in the world of self-publishing, the author who takes the time (and spends the necessary money) to provide readers with the best possible experience. Perhaps with time we will show Ms. Gough, and others like her, those who choose to self-publish aren’t something to be scraped off the bottom of their shoes, but a force for change in the publishing world.
For those of you who wish to traditionally publish, I commend you. I couldn’t do it because I refuse to give up that kind of control over my work. It takes an immense amount of courage to put yourself out there and I hope you find an amazing agent and get one heck of a publishing contract.
Much Love To You All,
V. L. Cooke