Every six months or so someone on the traditional side of the publishing fence feels the need to blast the internet with their opinion on the unsettling trend of self-published authors flooding the marketplace with material that hasn’t been vetted by the increasingly irrelevant gatekeepers of the industry. The fact that anyone with a computer can publish a book sickens them, and they bark out their dismay until their throats get sore, and they annoy the holy hell out of everybody in the process. We get it. You’re upset. Move on. There is nothing new you can say. Your point has been made… repeatedly, and uttering another word about it is completely unnecessary.
The latest grumbler is Michael Kozlowski, Editor in Chief of Good E-Reader. He is so miffed that he is even offended self-published authors are allowed to call themselves authors. I’m guessing he wants self-published authors to wear a scarlet letter… only not an “A”. He suggests that self-published works should be segregated from those published by what he calls “professional” authors. His logic here is that it’s unfair to consumers to subject them to a plethora of inferior works on an e-tailer’s website. They should be given a clear path to the deserving works of traditionally published authors.
Kozlowski’s argument would be valid if not for the fact that by his own definition Snooki is a “professional” author, along with Pamela Anderson, Britney Spears, John Travolta, and the list goes on. Bad writing abounds amongst the offerings of traditional publishers and self-publishers. To suggest that a bad writer deserves to be called an author because he or she has a contract with a traditional publishing house while another one doesn’t because he or she self-published is more than a bit shortsighted. It’s an elitist-laden load of pap.
Here’s the good news. Good writing can be found in the indie world just as plentifully as it can be found in the traditional world, maybe even more so. Self-published authors are more apt to take risks and bring readers something new, while “professional” authors often play it safe and follow formulaic writing not because they want to, but because they’re being paid to. I ask you which has the potential to bring more value to the literary world.
I’m a writer first and foremost. I’m devoted to the art of fiction. Whether or not you call me an author matters not to me. Call me a hack or Bobo the typing clown for all I care.