I see it everywhere, on Twitter, Facebook, you name it. Traditionally accepted authors are being lauded as some golden goose while their deals appear in PW and are mentioned by other supposed big shots. Then there are those who choose to self-publish, and no one really pays them attention because they want their book out, the whole proof-is-in-the-pudding thing. Self-published authors will only receive their congratulations once their books have been read already and their ratings and rankings are good. So traditionally published authors get parties before their books even go to editing because they’ve made it through gatekeepers.
Then there is me, me who is with a small press. While I received congratulations and rounds of applause, I have also come under scrutiny by people who either don’t know me well or people surprised I got accepted in one shot. I get it. People do need to be more aware of small presses because there are presses out there with hidden fees, presses that are in fact vanity presses, but I’ve done my research, know my rights, and I take full responsibility for the contract I signed. I am not going to profess to be a publishing guru because I don’t work in publishing. I am simply publishing’s writer. But I know enough not to fall for a scam, and I hate being put under scrutiny just because I am with a small press.
I don’t need to be babied, and I certainly don’t need to be made to feel like my small press is somehow inferior to one of the big six simply because it doesn’t have the money the big six does.
Call me an indie snob, but do you truly know why I ruled out the big six a long time ago in favor of small presses? Because I think the current model is failing the mid-listers. I don’t know if I’d be a mid-lister, but I’d rather not take that chance. I’d also rather not query for ungodly amounts of time, then have to wait even more for an agent or editor to read what I’ve written. Life is short. Dreams can end in an instant. I’m so glad I subbed to AEC Stellar on a whim. No agents. The only gatekeepers were the owners themselves. It’s empowering to me to take charge of my own dream like that. Now I have a contract, and while there is still a waiting game in some aspects, my book is under a freaking contract. It’s not one of those binding ones, but it’s still a comfort.
Scrutiny can help small publishers grow, but it gets to the point where writers are picking apart every facet of it. “Oh, they still use mailing lists? RED FLAGS! SPAM!” Really, people? If I talk like I know what I’m doing, then treat my publisher the same. It’s my opinion small presses and indie authors are going to be the future–you know, the way it was when presses were first launched.
I honestly don’t care if you had to break diamonds to get your literary agent. I’ll give you your congratulations, but don’t expect me to treat you like Jesus. I’ll start lauding you once I read your book and love it. Same goes with small presses and indie authors. Congrats all around, but that will be all until I see your final product.
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