Knee-Jerk Defensiveness

There's a very narrow range of acceptable opinions in the "indie" world of self-published authors. And here they are, in no particular order:

1. the "traditional" publishing system is evil, unfair, and inept. Oh, and it's doomed. It will collapse by next Tuesday.
2. "traditional" publishers are terrified by the talent and imagination of self-published authors. 
3. bestselling authors like Meyer/Rowling/Grisham etc are miserable hacks who owe their success entirely to marketing.
4. any 99 cent indie book by an amateur is going to be as good, if not better, than any "traditionally" published book. 
5. published authors are elitists who fear the democratization of publishing because it offers more choice to readers and threatens their sense of entitlement. 
6. readers can't tell the difference between self-published books and "traditionally" published books because there really is no difference.
7. any published author who criticizes any aspect of self-publishing is criticizing YOU personally and YOUR book. 
8. "beta readers," no matter who they are, are really the best judges of your work, not any editor or agent.
9. there's really no need for experienced editors or copyeditors, since "traditionally" published books often have errors in them.
10. there's no such thing as a bad self-published book.
11. there's no such thing as a bad self-published book cover
12. always encourage "indie" work and never criticize it, no matter how awful it might be.

Any deviation from those accepted attitudes is seen as condescending, destructive, and treasonous. That's not to say there isn't some truth to them, but God forbid anyone in the "indie" ranks should ever acknowledge that: 

1. the stigma associated with self-published work is often well-deserved
2. the stigma, if anything, might endure and even become stronger as more unreadable swill is put out there.
3. failing to acknowledge the stigma doesn't make it go away, it only reinforces the negative stereotype that self-published authors have blinders-on and can't tell good writing from slop.
4. self-published work should be judged by the same high creative and editorial standards as "traditionally" published books. (Yes, there are standards, and we all know it).
5. readers *can* tell the difference between amateur, self-published work and professionally-written, "traditionally" published books. Most of the time, there *is* a difference.
6. there are a lot of awful self-published books.
7. there are a lot of awful self-published book covers…and yes, it matters.
8. self-published work could benefit from, and often desperately needs, professional editing, copyediting, and art design (regardless of whether you found a typo in Michael Connelly's last book).
9. relying on inexperienced "beta readers" can often be a case of the blind leading the blind
10. the reason Meyer/Rowling/Grisham etc. are bestselling authors is because they had great ideas for books and wrote them very well…and they might actually be more creative, and better writers, than most of us (it wasn't just luck).
11. it's okay to be critical of self-published work (and when someone is, that doesn't mean they are talking about YOU and YOUR book).

4 thoughts on “Knee-Jerk Defensiveness”

  1. Well…you don’t necessarily have to write Well, if that can be looked at objectively (and I’d suggest it can’t be), you just have to write in a way that pleases a large paying audience.

  2. This is the perfect place for you to pontificate without engaging in conversation, Lee. You make good points, but you’re not a very good listener, hence the reaction over at Kindleboards.
    I’ll give you this: your posts provide great entertainment.

  3. i call bull crap.
    put those straw men up in a poll, and
    see how many people endorse them…
    if you want people to be sensible,
    which is a great thing, by the way,
    then you must be sensible yourself.
    i guess you needed a blog post,
    and this was an easy one to write.

  4. There’s a very narrow range of acceptable opinions to have about the “indie” world of self-published authors. And here they are, in no particular order:
    1. Any rank generalization about self-published authors is a good one;
    2. Skip it. I have better things to do with my time.


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