I will continue to speak out against those who refuse access to self-publishers, or indie-publishers as we are now being referred to. There are two award competitions that I have considered participating in within the past two weeks. I am shut out from both because I have published my own books instead of mucking through the years-long process of attempting–begging–to be accepted, embraced and eventually published by a traditional publishing house.
It is true that there is a lot of junk produced by self-publishers, maybe even some of my own. However, the same can be said for the professional book producers who manage to always stack high the bargain tables in any book store with tons of inferior or rejected product.
It is my theory that a good book stands on its own. It makes no matter how the author’s creative process transitioned from his or her mind to the printed words on the pages. Whether the author hired the printer or the professional publishing house used its printer, the outcome is the same—words on paper. What matters is that the story is captivating, the writing is qualitative and the reader enjoys the experience of having read the book. That is all that there is to the process. If an awards competition refuses considering a self-published book merely on the merit the book was not approved and produced by a professional publishing house, well, that really isn’t much different from rejecting a homemade chocolate chip cookie vs. one baked and packaged by Keebler or Nabisco.
Self-published authors remain, by and large, thought of as second-class writers. I think this attitude is slowly changing and may even go away someday. For the present, however, it is up to us to stand up, speak up and persistently peck away at those who feel us unworthy. I have made it a point to do this every time a door is closed in my face. Today it was the National Book Foundation. I hope the folks there at least took my comments to heart and someday, somewhere, a self-published author will beam with pride after winning one of the Foundation’s prestigeous National Book Awards which he or she is currently unworthy of.