Finally let’s deal with Respect
Respect is perhaps the hardest of the three “Rs” to acquire. Being financially successful and well-known does not necessarily mean you will be respected. This is especially true for self-published authors who enter the publishing ring with one hand tied behind their backs. Although the stigma is lessening, self-published books are still not accepted by professional reviewers such as the NY Times, or accepted by prestigious writing competitions.
There are a lot of well-written indie books out there; I have personally read several that are every bit as good as, or even better than, the best that the big publishing houses have to offer. It is because of this literary snobbery that self-published books are held to a higher standard. If you want to be taken seriously as an author – and assuming that you have written a good book – then you had better make sure that it is meticulously edited: copyedited at a minimum and line edited if you can afford it. Not to do so plays directly to the indie stereotype, and will doom your work to the trash heap of broken dreams and forgotten titles.
Now to end this blog series on a positive note: assuming that you have more than a modicum of talent, and that you are committed to work hard and take the time it requires, and if you are willing to search your soul and be honest with yourself, then you might just be the first self-published author to win a Pulitzer Prize (an organization, by the way, that couldn’t find a worthy book in the fiction category last year), or a Man Booker Prize. And perhaps even more importantly, you will achieve the hat trick of novel writing – Reward, Recognition and Respect!
So get to work, and keep me posted on your progress!
Here’s a funny thing. I feel I’m getting recognition and respect but no reward. That’s the last way I thought it would happen. I get wonderful reviews, invites to speak to literary festivals, authors groups and even one post-graduate level writing group and my book was selected to represent its country at Frankfurt book fair in the most amazing way, and yet still only the slowest trickle of sales. The reason I’m concerned about this is because I want the book to be read so much its message will change attitude to our oceans. That’s why I wrote it. However, deep down I think it is a matter of patience. Patience is a quality we Indie authors need in truckloads.
Geri and Tui,
You are both so right! I can sympathize, Tui, because the same has been happening to me. My book sales have dropped precipitously, but the good reviews keep on coming. I refuse to lose faith in myself, and I continue to write! Just today, I wrote over 1,000 words in my new book, Broken Promises, which should be finished and published next month, AND I wrote a blog piece about WRITING EFFECTIVE DIALOGUE. Hopefully, the economic climate will get better and all those Indie “boats” will benefit from the rising tide.