Tuesday, February 26, 2008


One of the worst obstacles self-published authors face is snobbery. I've encountered this in the promotion of my novel, INTO THE SUNSET, as well as my short story collection, STORIES FROM SUNSET HILL. The stigma of self-publishing is that the work must suck, otherwise why did it have to be self-published?

Well, one reason I self-pubbed my collection is because the short story collection may very well be the hardest thing to sell to the traditional houses (well, maybe poets have it worse). So I didn't even attempt to sell the collection; I just figured I'd publish it myself. Of the 17 stories included in my book, 7 had been published elsewhere, in lit mags and e-zines.

I am proud of STORIES FROM SUNSET HILL. It showcases some of my best work. In fact, a Writer's Digest contest judge had this to say about the book:

"The author writes with a creative and lively style. The gritty, raw voice of the character Chuck in the first story pulled me in right away, and I couldn't stop reading.

"The author has an uncanny ability to create insightful characters, who are wiser to the world and its ways than they are to themselves. This is a winsome combination, a likeable quality, that pulls the reader into the fictive dream."

Unfortunately, I've most recently encountered this stereotype from Tania Hershman, the editor of The Short Review. Her web site is dedicated to the short story, with the tagline "where short story collections step into the spotlight." It's a great idea to spotlight short story collections, especially nowadays when more and more people have less and less time to read novels. So I was excited when Tania said she'd review my collection. I hoped she would like it, and a good review would have really helped give my work much-needed exposure.

It was not to be. I guess she didn't realize the book was self-published when she agreed to review it. Someone must have tipped her off, and she pulled out of the review. I wish her well with the web site, but all I ask is that my work speak for itself, and not be pre-judged. Read it, then judge it.

I realize it's still hard to get a self-pubbed book reviewed because, frankly, reviewers don't want to wade through the crap to find the jewels (which is still the prevailing stereotype for self-pubbed books). But a lot of it isn't crap. I'm trying to fight this stereotype in my own small way, but there are some days when I feel it is a losing battle. But there is hope that the climate will change, with contests like the Writer's Digest International Self-Published Book Awards and the Indie Book Awards bringing attention to the best of self-publishing.

Stories From Sunset Hill

Read a review of Stories From Sunset Hill

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