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I recently read an article written by Karin Gillespie, on Romancing the Blog, that grated on my nerves a bit, and thus, made me ask the question, do N.Y.C publishees consider themselves above authors who are published by E-publishers or small/vanity press?

I’m not really sure what the answer is, but I can tell you something, there is a definite air of superiority amongst some traditionally published authors vs authors from lesser known publishing houses. Karin’s comments probably shouldn’t have really surprised me.

She starts off by writing:

“There’s another author that lives in my same city. We’ve both been on the same noontime talk shows: we’ve both been featured in articles in the newspaper. At the bookstore both of our hardcover novels are displayed together at same local-author table. Most people assume we are colleagues, but there are some very important differences between us.
My novel was published by a large New York City publisher; his novel was published by a vanity press masquerading as a legitimate publishing house. As a result his novel is rife with errors, lacks a plot and is clearly the efforts of a novice. I doubt it would have been accepted by a traditional house.”

Do you get the feeling she doesn’t want to be associated with this author? (grin) When she states that she’s been published by a large N.Y.C company, is it me, or does she come off sounding a little superior?

She then goes on to add:

“I spent fifteen years learning to write until I felt ready to submit my work to an agent. I went to writers conferences, read tons of craft books and joined a novel critique group. He’d never written anything before his first novel and pounded out it out over a period of six months.
So why does this bother me? His novel will probably go nowhere beyond the small city where we live, and he won’t make a dime off of it. But still the situation grates my nerves.

When I was recently introduced to him at a party, the host said to me, “Bill is an author, just like you!”
“No, he isn’t!” I wanted to retort.”

Wow, you go Karin!! I get the fact that she honed her craft to the nth degree before she submitted her work for publication, and maybe it pisses her off to see somebody who obviously isn’t as talented as her getting a free ride, but come on, she’s made it, that’s good right? Why worry about a lesser mortal than herself? She’s already admitted that he probably wont make a dime, so what’s she so worried about? Him tainting her work? Hello?

She assumes that because of his publishing status, he’ll probably amount to nothing, which really annoyed the hell out of me. I can’t imagine that there aren’t really talented writers out there who for one reason or another have been refused by some of the big publishing houses, what are they to do then? Curl up and die, until Mira comes a-calling?

“Writing a book doesn’t make someone an author anymore than applying a Band-Aid to a skinned knee makes someone a doctor. Reviewers of large newspapers, publishing people and most media outlets can spot these so-called “authors” fairly readily, but how can the average Joe tell the difference between a real writer and a dilettante?”

If someone truly believes that they are talented, and they manage the great feat of finishing a book, why can they not be considered an author? The book that they’ve written may not be very good, in fact it might be flush-down-the-toilet bad, but that would just be an opinion, wouldn’t it, because as we all know, one man’s meat, is another man’s poison. Who’s to say that people won’t enjoy his book, as badly written as it may be?

The comment about reviewers spotting the chaff from the wheat, also hit my hot button, have I told you recently that I think reviews are just other people’s opinions, and that they NEVER influence my buying choices?

As an Average Joe, does it matter to me that an author is published by a main house, or by a vanity press company? Not really, do you know why? Because if the book sucks, I just don’t buy that authors stuff again. It certainly doesn’t make me turn me against a whole genre, or judge other authors on somebody else’s crap writing. I think I know better than that.

“I know I sound petty, but as a writer who went through a great deal of trouble to learn my craft, I’m annoyed that my efforts and other authors’ efforts are diluted by not-ready-for-publication authors.”

You know what Karin, I think you do sound petty, in the great scheme of things, how is this small guy gonna affect your sales and readership? People aren’t as stupid as you may think, they buy what they like, and if it’s a big disappointment, they shrug their shoulders, and never go there again.

“After all, the public is deluged with plenty of traditionally published books; it shouldn’t have to sort through the efforts of amateurs as well.”

Karin, I hate to say this, (ok, no I don’t) but there are plenty of crap traditionally published books out there, it may be that the ‘amateur’ one is just the thing that we’re looking for to get us out of a reading rut. Who’s to say otherwise?

“If I sound like a gatekeeper to an exclusive country club, I apologize. In fact, I’m glad to help aspiring writers and always take the time to answer their questions and give advice. I’m also thrilled when authors I’ve counseled finally see success in the publishing world.”

Yep Karin, you do sound like the gatekeeper to an exclusive country club. Not everybody has your patience, some people want success yesterday, and are maybe willing to pay to get it. This doesn’t make them bad people or in fact bad writers, but if they can’t get their work out there by traditional means, who’s gonna know how brilliant they actually are?

I think that everybody deserves a shot at their dream, and I think it’s pretty harsh to look down your nose at somebody just because they’ve chosen to take a different route to you. If they suck muchos big time, then they wont sell anyway, and the world can be free of such dastardly heathens.

So my question is, do you think that there is an almost sub-conscious snobbery amongst N.Y.C published authors, about small/vanity press or e-published writers? I know that some authors are probably too polite/politically correct to tell me what they really think, but readers, what do you think?


  • Sarah McCarty
    May 24
    10:53 am

    There are levels of “success” in publishing, some real some perceived. There are different pay scales at different houses within NY. Just like with regular jobs, pay equals success and with greater pay often comes a contract with a “bigger” house. People react differently to the challenges in the business. Though it takes trememdous skill to deliver a great story in category length, (I severely doubt I could do it) often category authors are not viewed as successful as other writers. The genre you write in also effects your “status” in the industry to those who have a need to pigeonhole success.

    As the world probably knows after the great “readers are verbal crack addicts” issue, I think it’s up to readers to determine what they like and beleive it’s good there are more options. I opted out of NY for my PROMISE series because it was Western Historical which meant as an “unfavored genre” even if purchased, it wouldn’t have had support and I would have had to change many stories in it to be less than I wanted. I made that decision after a lot of market research. I knew the Promises series was going to be popular (gut feeling) and I needed a progressive flexible house. I chose Ellora’s. I am extremely happy at Elloras and going there was an excellent choice for me. I get to write the books of my heart, I have a great editor, and I get paid well for what I do. IOW, I am in writer’s heaven. But there is a kicker that would really upset me if I were the type to care. Depsite the fact I have been writing for 20 years and worked hard to hone my craft (and still do) I am not considered a real writer by many authors, and will not be unless I change my genre and my publisher.

    Considering how easy it is to get published now with epublishing compared to the previous 50 years when there were only 12 spots a year total at publsihing houses for new authors, (talk about competition!) it is not surprising that many older authors resent the “ease” with which some authors have achieved their goal in the last five years. Not right in my opinion, but not surprising.



  • Jenn
    May 24
    11:39 am


    I am continually surprise at the intrigue and jealous that goes on in the publishing world. Who knew? Snobbery, back stabbing? I am not surprised.
    Next thing you know we will uncover a web of intrigue and danger where a group of authors plot to knock off all of the ebook authors. What a story!
    IMagine. An author jealous over an ebook authors success and coveting her hunky hubby decides to eliminate all ebook authors and take over the hubby and the ebook publishing world in a coup.

    Desperate Authors would probably outdo Desperate HOusewives anyday.

    Maybe I shouold patten that title.


  • Jenn
    May 24
    11:52 am

    Ms. McCarty you had better run! JK Rowling and Nora Roberts are probably plotting as we speak.

    Seriously I have found that I prefer to read ebooks and there are some great authors writing ebooks with good stories. I find myself reading print less and less. Stephen King thought they were good enough for him. How many writing classes did Shakespeare or some of the other writers of classic attend? I believe some people are born with the talent for writing and don’t need “15” years of training. As for errors in a story that is what editors and proofreaders are for. Even the most “trained” authors make spelling errors. etc. YOu are right. Jealousy over how fast the ebook market is growing and how well ebooks are selling and as they gain in populbarity we will hear other authors complain or join the bandwagon.


  • Scott
    May 24
    12:13 pm

    I wouldn’t know by experience, but I am sure there is snobbery of those that have been published by the big houses. And like Sarah said, I can understand. I know it would be tough for me to sit by and watch someone have success early after I worked hard for it. But then again it may be a talent thing, too. 😉

    As for e-books, yes they are seen as less. I don’t necesssarily see them as lesser fiction, but I am not always running out to buy it. The reason is mostly because I don’t want to sit in front of a computer to read a book. I have never priced hand held options, but I don’t think I could really afford it. Plus I am a traditionalist and like having the actual book in my hand and on the shelf (if I want to keep it). But again that is no knock against their talent. Just my desire for a different form of media. It was liked when I was dragged kicking and screaming to the world of CD’s, not wanting to part with the ways of vinyl.

    In many respects, the e-book surge is good for the market. Readers have more options to choose from. And like Sarah said, it opens more avenues for talented writers who may be left out of those “12 available spots” that the big houses have. I am sure there are more then just a few thousand great writers in the world.


  • Anonymous
    May 24
    12:35 pm

    Sarah, you are so right. There are different levels of successes, perceived and otherwise, and I do think that big main stream published authors hold themselves in higher regard than other smaller houses. It puzzles me as to where this attitude was borne from.

    Karin Gillespie’s comments aren’t all that unusual. I compare it to the Good Ol’ Boys Club where if you don’t do things in a certain way, you wont be accepted by the members of that club.

    I also fully agree that the genre within which you write does make a big difference to how you are perceived.

    I’m an author-in-waiting. I write erotic romance stories, which are category length, and I’ve been told by more ‘experienced’ people that short stories do not sell, and that the only people who write erotic romance are people that couldn’t make it as ‘proper’ writers.
    If I was to listen to all the doom and gloom stories I’ve heard about the writing world, I’d never pick up a pen again, but this is what I want to do, this is who I am, and I’m not going to let anybody tell me that I’m not good enough.

    BTW, Sorry to take up so much space.



  • Rocio
    May 24
    3:02 pm

    Karen, this is such an interesting topic! I think it also apply to all careers..Poeple are obsessed with sucess, even over happiness! That article remind me of an issue I have with my daugther, you give something to her and she is very happy until she sees what you gave to her brother! People often base their sucess on the relative loss of others…as if I got the highiest grades at college I have to be the richiest professional of my prom. In art, it’s worse because when things depends on creative, talent and public..we often see gift ones who effordlessly achieve great things that no matter how much time and efford other cannot do! You know what got me from that article? You noticed how much time and efford that lady put to keep track of that men work? She read his book, analyzed his editor, publisher, cover, publicity, the time he invest to write, the lessons he took to do it…..the irony is that he probably is not even aware of her and I bet he hasn’t even read her work!! So who’s the most successful?


  • Tammy
    May 24
    11:34 pm

    I find e-published authors a lot more humble than writers who have been published by a big main stream house.
    I think they just seem to appreciate the readers more.
    I can imagine that some older, more traditional romance authors would hate the fact that they worked so hard to get where they are, and it may seem to them that newer authors are getting to where they wanted to be, a lot quicker than they themselves did.

    I just read, and I have no idea what I just said, sorry Karen, I hope that makes sense!


  • Dawn
    May 25
    10:17 am

    That all makes sense to me, everyone.

    It definitely does seem to be a snobbery issue with some authors. Like whichever one of you said, just because you are published by a mainstream house, it doesn’t automatically make you a “better” writer. It is completely down to the preference of the readers.

    I’ve tried reading certain authors because other people have said that they are fabulous. Sometimes I think they are wonderful, but other times I think “what an absolute load of crap”.

    So that woman needs to pull herself from out of her own ass and let all authors, whether they be e-published or mainstream published, be proud of the fact that ANYONE wants to read their books.


  • Anonymous
    June 2
    2:29 pm

    I totally understand that author’s point. Nobody likes shortcuts. I’m a teacher and got a traditonal Masters degree that I worked my butt off for. Lots of teachers at my school fly off for the summer and get a Masters they’ve paid for. It’s very irritating.


  • Adrienne Kama
    June 2
    3:12 pm

    I think the bottom line is that it isn’t about the authors, it’s about the readers. At the end of the day all authors are providing a service to readers. We’re telling stories and hoping to entertain them. Being a legitimate author isn’t about how much money we make, if we e-pub or pub with NY, it’s about giving readers an escape. That may sound cheesy, but I think it’s true. As a reader, if I enjoy a story I don’t care whether I’ve downloaded it or picked it up from Borders. I love good books, end of story. Right now there are more stories available for readers than ever before. That’s a good thing, not something to complain about, which is something that a few NY authors are doing.


  • Dakota Cassidy
    June 2
    4:25 pm

    Well, Hell. I’ve been writing for a total of two years. That’s IT. Two–I know nothing about marketing–nothin’ about nothin’–I just DO IT. I think I must suck in some circles, eh?

    I never studied–I never took a class. I just did it. And then, I had an agent come and get me who does the whole NY thing.

    Does this mean I get the egg salad at the “I studied my craft for 15 years” Country Club, instead of the filet mignon?

    Damn, I really like filet mignon, too. LMAO


    Dakota 🙂


  • Maven
    June 10
    7:44 pm

    …and has anyone other than me noticed that alot of what is getting published by NY these days is poorly written? It’s gotten to the point that I buy My known fave authors, and I’m reluctant to give new print authors a go at $7.00 a pop, ’cause I’ve been burned over and over again lately by poor characterization and plot holes big enough to drive a truck through.
    With an E-book, I can get an excerpt and an idea of the writing stlye without having to crack the book and read a chapter while leaning on the shopping cart while the kids whine…


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