How The Other Half Lives

Thanks to the inestimable Pigeon Weather Productions  for directing my attention to an article on Salon by Ted Heller called : “The Future Is No Fun: Self-Publishing Is The Worst”. 

Now, Mr. Heller has three novels traditionally published and decided to self-publish his latest one, mostly because his contacts in the traditional publishing world didn’t want it.  After having his previous work reviewed in national papers and stocked in national chains, Mr. Heller finds that he can’t get the same kind of media exposure for his self-published work.

Oh.  The horror, the horror.

In the article he describes his travails of the past seven whole weeks of attempting to promote his book and finding that the New York Times and NPR won’t even return his phone calls.   Truly, my heart bleeds for this guy.

He’s got his novel up on Smashwords and Amazon for $7.99, e-book only.  He’s got no reviews on Smashwords and three (all five star) on Amazon, and as I write this is #29,031 in Amazon’s Best Seller Rank.

Not bad considering that it went live on May 2nd, four days ago.  The article referenced above was published on May 3rd, the day after he launched the book.

It’s kind of like watching the way that kids from wealthy families react when they move into a dorm and are shown the laundry room for the first time– “Wait… where do I leave my clothes to get them them washed?  I have to do my own laundry?  No way–that’s barbaric!  I have to buy soap and everything?  OH MY GAWD!”

The fact is that Mr. Heller is still in a privileged position in the publishing world.  He may not be able to score an interview on Fresh Air, but he’s still getting column space on Salon.com.  Having his traditionally published books on his record gives him a big leg up on those of us who have self-published from the beginning.

I suppose I should cut him a little slack.  Traditionally published authors are treated like house pets, fed and petted and insulated from the harsh realities of the world outside the carefully sculpted garden.  I can see how he’d get the impression that selling books is just a matter of writing a few press releases and letting the national media do the rest.

Welcome to our world, Mr. Heller.  Welcome to the jungle.

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About MishaBurnett

I am the author of "Catskinner's Book", a science fiction novel available on Amazon Kindle. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008MPNBNS
This entry was posted in On Promotion, On Publishing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to How The Other Half Lives

  1. Self-Publishing is not an art. Promotion and the other marketing pillars are not artist’s domains.
    The simple proven principles are rules that anyone can learn and apply successfully. I suggest any author interested in self-publishing can Google ” self-publishing ebooks” and in 0.38 seconds get 12,000,000 results. Add “marketing” and 15,800,000 results in 0.43 sec. It ain’t rocket science.
    Another great post Misha. Thanks for getting me off my easy chair.

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