I stumbled upon yet another "Let's all laugh at self-publishers" blog post this week on Twitter. It purported to be an advice post about how to, and how to not, approach book sellers if you have written a book and are publishing it yourself. I clicked on it as it looked useful.
But there is no advice. There is just a string of arrogant insults and inaccurate statements. And assumptions that are so wrong it's mind-boggling. I won't list them here, but if you do stumble upon the blog post, they should be apparent. It's the same old, tired old bullshit that snooty types like to trot out for the benefit of their own egos and to delight their acolytes. It's meant to be "funny". You get the picture.
This "bookseller" above all implies that if a book has been self-published, it means the book is bad. Fact is, there are many bad self-published books, and many awkward self-published writers who do approach bookshops in the wrong way. Of course, it's disingenuous to tar all of us with that brush, but more important than that, it's mean spirited to ridicule any self-published author in this way.
Why? Because it takes guts to walk into a bookshop and ask if they would consider stocking your work, knowing in your heart you are probably going to make a hash of it and, crime of crimes, annoy the manager. But do you know what? Simply by TRYING, the self-published author is a better person than this (anonymous, of course) bookseller will ever be, because it takes a lot of time, dedication, and hard work to write, publish and attempt to sell your book, no matter how bad (or good) it is. You are trying to be the best a human can be: creative, brave, enterprising, passionate, vulnerable.
By all means, (anonymous, of course) bookseller, please do give advice. By all means do tell the rude (or just plain inexperienced) self-publishers where to get off. By all means refuse to stock any book you want to refuse. I've no issue with any of that. But don't take the piss out of people who attempt something truly admirable. Something that, by your own admission, you can not do.
Louise Walters (reader, writer, trade published author, self published author, and former bookseller. Not anonymous.)