Welcome to December!
And now for the news.
Highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing:
This week, web platform IdeaStream showed up for self-publishing in a major way in the form of an article by Carrie Wise on the stigma (still somewhat) attached to self-publishing. And while we’ve come a long way, writes wise, there are still authors like Shondra Longino (AKA Abby L. Vandiver) “still feel it.” In Wise’s article, Longino notes that she “think[s] more and more people are finding that self-published authors, you know, are good writers and their books are good. But […] there’s still a bias, and they hold us [to] a higher standard.” Longino recently found herself courted by traditional publishers, one sign that the market really is changing and that publishers themselves are now looking to self-published books as a resource and discovery system. Wise also records the changes taking place in how libraries, bookstores, and nonprofits in order to celebrate existing self-published works and support those authors choosing that path.
Cleveland independent bookstore Loganberry Books carries self-published authors primarily on consignment, according to book buyer Elisabeth Plumlee-Watson.
The stigma around self-publishing “is certainly much less than it was 10 years ago,” she said.
Area libraries are also carrying more self-published books. Akron-Summit County Public Library makes a point to feature local authors. Cuyahoga County Public Library takes the lead on self-published books from the media, picking up ones reviewed locally or nationally. Cuyahoga County also has a writers’ center at the South Euclid-Lyndhurst branch.
But one’s very definition of “success” can shift an experience from negative to positive, Wise hints, quoting musician and self-published author Zach Fenell: “Do not let… somebody else’s opinion of be the reason you don’t self-publish.” The world has come a long way from when self-publishing first became an option, with stigma taking a rapid slide into background noise, but if you do happen to stumble into the middle of some, don’t let it get to you–there’s an entire community of supporters, as evidenced by Wise’s article, eager to show up for you.
In Spokane’s The Spokesman-Review, contributor Jared Brown covers the story of self-publishing author Libbie Grant’s journey to success (on her own terms, of course). Grant, who publishes under the pen names Libbie Hawker, Olivia Hawker, and L.M. Ironside, first built up an audience for her writing through the publication of several works of historical fiction, then began branching out once those books reached a loyal audience. Writes Brown, “The audiences for Grant’s pseudonyms overlap very little except for hardcore fans, she said. At one time, she thought about using initials as a veil for her gender. But Grant said the feminist in her decided she wanted to win a Pulitzer Prize in spite of persisting gender bias.” She also was determined to fight any remaining stigma, as we covered, above: “‘There’s a myth among people who love books that great books are always published,’ Grant said. ‘But that’s just not the case.'” We are so in love with her point of view!