Recent articles in the New York Times and Slate have enlightened me to the levels of elitism that still exist in the publishing industry. I will do my best to be as gracious as I can.
My response to each:
Dear Ms. Greenwell and Ms. Miller:
After reading both your respective opinion pieces on “lowbrow” and “low-cost” independently published books, I feel I must warn you to lower your nostrils a bit. If rain is in the forecast, you could risk drowning.
Your articles were condescending, to say the least, and I was stunned to see such a high level of disdain for indie authors. Are you truly of the belief that any author who is not with one of the big New York publishing houses isn’t worth your time or energy? It seems you wouldn’t deign to blow your nose with one of our ‘lowbrow’ and ‘low-cost’ paperbacks.
You’re entitled to your opinions, as am I.
Your articles started out discussing the Susan Meachen case. But, somehow, you both managed to denigrate and insult the entire Indie Publishing community.
I have published over thirty novels in my twelve years as an independently published author. My books are available at many of the same places yours: Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and, yes, Amazon. You can even find them in local libraries in most English-speaking countries. Additionally, my books have been translated into several languages and are also available in audiobook formats.
I’m not allowed to play in your Acqua di Cristallo Tributo a Modigliani-filled pond because I am self-published.
I sell a lot of books. And I do mean a lot of books. I’ve sold enough books in one week to make the New York Times Bestsellers list, but you won’t find my name there. The NYTimes suffers from the same brand of elitism and ignorance as you two do. I’m not allowed to play in your Acqua di Cristallo Tributo a Modigliani-filled pond because I am self-published.
That’s okay. I prefer playing in the ocean.
According to my research, Ms. Greenwell has not yet had her first novel published. Therefore, it’s impossible for me to compare my writing style to hers. Until today, I hadn’t heard of either one of these women. But I live in a tiny hamlet in the midwest and don’t get to the big city very often. I’m too busy writing, helping other independently published authors, and writing checks to Uncle Sam.
At the risk of sounding overconfident, I believe I have written some pretty damned good novels. At least, that is what my readers and my peers tell me. If my writing sucked, I doubt I ever would have sold 750,000 ebook copies around the world. And, yes, I have my reviews and my sales reports to back that up.
The Indie Community is our book world. It is filled with countless wonderful, successful, and talented authors, some of whom have hit the New York Times Bestsellers list on numerous occasions—before that newspaper decided to change the rules. Authors who make more in one month off one novel than many of the traditionally published authors make in years.
We work hard, from sunup to sunset. Some of us work seven days a week. You see, we do more than just write. We run our own businesses. Many, like me, had to form S-Corps for tax purposes, because we were making well over a quarter of a million dollars a year. We employ cover artists, editors, proof readers, narrators, and translators. Some of us also have full-time assistants to help us with the day-to-day business stuff. I myself have a team of accountants and a full-time bookkeeper, in addition to the cover artist, editor, proofers, narrators, etc.
I have two important goals each day:
- To make each book is better than the last one I published.
- To give back to the Indie Community in whatever way I can.
Maybe it was the way I was raised, but I firmly believe in being kind to others, in helping people who need it, and in never turning my nose up at anyone.
Perhaps, instead of insulting an entire community that you know nothing about, you might want to climb down off your gold-plated high horses and try reading something written by a successful indie author. I’d even be happy to send you a free copy of one of my books. Perhaps, if you accept this challenge, we could talk over lunch sometime, when you’re in my neck of the woods. I know a great local place that will let anyone in. Even highfalutin folks from New York.
You’re welcome to hang out with us low-brow, low-cost authors any time. You see, we welcome everyone. We help each other wherever and whenever we can. We share ideas, we share marketing tips, and we share ourselves.
As it pertains to Susan Meachen: I can assure you that her story is a rare one indeed.
As it pertains to Susan Meachen: I can assure you that her story is a rare one indeed. In my estimation, only a fraction of indie authors actually pull stunts like this. It’s beyond rare. In fact, this is the first time in my twelve years that I’ve heard of anyone doing this.
Yes, we do have plenty of drama to deal with. But we also deal with book pirates, plagiarizers, copyright infringements, and various other ne’er-do-wells and scam artists. But you’ll find that in any career or community.
What sets people like me and my author friends apart from the Susan Meachens of the world is the fact that we don’t mind working hard. We’re genuine and honest and kind. We believe in giving back. And, the vast majority of the time, we all get along quite well.
What Susan Meachen did was beyond the pale. It was a kick in the gut to many of us. Especially to those people who, like me, suffer from depression. To fake one’s own death and attribute it to the bullying in the book world was another slap in the face. Especially since there is no evidence of actual bullying towards Ms. Meachen. The accusations of bullying were just another layer to her lies and intricately-woven web of deceit.
Ms. Greenwell and Ms. Miller, I challenge you to look at the big picture. Re-read what you wrote pertaining to the indie author community. Maybe take off your diamond-encrusted Dolce and Gabbana glasses and take a long, hard look at yourselves and your opinions of us. I am perfectly willing to take the time to get to know one or both of you a bit better. Are you willing to do the same?