While I was at the London Book fair in April, one lady stood up and gave a seminar on how there were an ‘awful lot of bad books out there’. Another said that more and more writers are now expected to bear more of the risk – and even go as far as to complete their books without getting paid themselves.
I feel really sorry for these people; I can’t tell you what a shame this is. It seems some authors are still not in the 21st Century when it comes to getting their books out there. When you think about the flat or falling book sales figures, the rising cost of production, add to this the uncertainty inherent in the industry, is it any wonder that publishers are reining in the budgets and take fewer risks?
As a publisher myself, I don’t have a problem with authors taking a risk. What I do have a problem with is the arrogance and condescending nature of some publishing people who still believe that they get to be ‘gatekeepers’, deciding which books deserve to be published and which don’t. One former publisher present at the seminar said “there were an awful lot of bad books that did not need to exist”.
The strap line at The Book Midwife for several years has been “Every Book Deserves to Be Written and Published”. I have never said ‘bad books’ deserve to be bought, read or liked. I just said we shouldn’t deny people the right to get their books into print.
I thought – wrongly, as it turns out – that people in the publishing industry were finally beginning to realise the benefits of democratic and open publishing, creating more opportunities for all. Self-publishing, cooperative or partnership publishing, publishing on the web – these are the vehicles which have allowed more people than ever to get their thoughts and ideas into the market.
So I am calling people everywhere. Business Owners, Entrepreneurs, Working Mums, First Time Writers, and even Second Time Writers that were unsuccessful at the publishers. If there is a book in you, let’s find it and get it out into the market. Happy writing!