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Author collectives signal a new chapter for self-publishing

See on Scoop.itWriting and reading fiction

Alison Flood: With online groups working to sift out the hidden gems, and a New York co-operative instituting a ‘seal of quality’, is the world of independent publishing finally getting organised?


Please read the Guardian story at the link because I’m not feeling like the article is telling me to feel.


The Question of the Day: If you’re an independent author, some of the snobs in the comments thread of this Guardian article will make you tear your eyelashes out. However, a “seal of quality” by earnest people will at least appease those who condemn all indie books. What do you think? Could this be the next great thing for the readers who can’t be bothered to look and decide for themselves? For everyone? Is it good for authors as well as readers, or is this instituting another star chamber of a small group that gets to decide what is “worthy”? Is this an opportunity or deepening ghettoization of non-traditional literature?


To tell the truth, I got off on the wrong paw with this article as soon as I read the tagline: “Is the world of independent publishing finally getting organised?” Isn’t that kind of an oxymoron? Can indie still be indie if it’s New York trad publishing all over again? Honest questions. What are your answers? ~ Chazz

See on www.guardian.co.uk

Filed under: publishing

4 Responses

  1. Anna Drake says:

    To be fair, I haven’t read the article, so perhaps I’m off base with this post. But from what I see on the blurb, I’m so with you Chazz. The thing I like about Indie publishing is that the gatekeepers are gone. Is this just another way perhaps for best friend to get together to exclude those who don’t follow their path?

  2. Reena Jacobs says:

    I think it’s a great way for unknown authors to gain recognition, but it’s nothing new. Established authors boast about their writing buddies all the time (the seal of approval). Often the unknown author receives a boost in sales just because they know someone important who’ll vouch for them.

    That the article suggests otherwise gives me the impression their ignorant of the methods already employed in indie publishing (very doubtful), or they’re boasting it as new as a publicity stunt for the product/feature (most likely).

    • Chazz says:

      Hm. Maybe so, though my reading of the story was that they were pitching themselves as the singular determinant of good taste (which annoyed me.)

      I’m not sure what your position is on author friends recommending books by author friends. Some might think that’s a bad thing. I don’t see anything wrong with it as long as the author friend can make the quote and give the blurb wholeheartedly and honestly.

      • Reena Jacobs says:

        People say a lot of things, doesn’t make it true. I skimmed the article, and it reminded me of the agency system. Writers in the past spent an abundance of time querying agents with the hope of having a publisher take interest. The idea was agents knew what publishers wanted and publishers knew what readers wanted. Apparently, readers weren’t smart enough to determine a good book without agents and publishers telling them so. I guess the readers showed them! πŸ™‚ Insert the entities in the article in place of agents, and we have the same deal. I think it’s important not to underestimate the ability of readers to choose great books.

        Doesn’t necessarily mean the offer to vouch for books is a bad thing. I see it as just one more method of promotion. Kind of like going to a reviewer and getting their stamp of approval. Some reviewers have more weight than others, and what the author does with those reviews can determine how successful the book can become. It’ll be up to that entity to make a name for themselves… a name readers can trust. I can say I’m the authority on books all I want, but unless I have some proof to back it, who’s going to believe it? πŸ™‚

        Also keep in mind, being published traditionally doesn’t necessarily mean the book is great. Readers know they’re taking a chance with indie works. Some are fabulous; others not so much. However, readers are also on the up and up about traditional books which could be chalked full of errors and have a plot so messed up it’s hard to believe the book even made it past the query stage, much less to the shelves.

        I also think there’s a difference between promoting a friend and vouching about the quality of a friend’s work. For instance, I love to feature authors on my blog (not saying I have much leeway with readers). I’m not vouching for the quality of their work, just promoting their works. I’ve seen authors such as Joe Konrath do the same. Because his blog gets so much traffic, it really doesn’t matter if he’s read the work or not. People take notice simply because a book or author is featured on his blog. Turns into a numbers game.

        Once in a while I’ll find a book I love and shout it out to the world (my seal of approval–FWIW). My reach may be small, but joined with others it equates to word of mouth and has a similar effect as someone with oomph promoting a work. That’s how you end up with an author like Amanda Hocking — unknown for the most part — hit it big because a bit of buzz created a snowball effect.

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