The Author’s Journey and the Blogger’s Journey

I am in New Orleans, ironically pretending to be an author in the traditional publishing-industry sense of the word. I am sitting in a seriously cliched writerly cafe, the Rue de la Course near the Tulane University campus. Jazz is playing in the background. Its the sort of coffee shop that conforms to your expectations of an archetypal artsy coffee shop so well, it is surreal. Like The Simpsons’ idea of an artsy coffee shop.

If I grew an instant goatee, slapped a beret on my head and called myself a flâneur, (a self-descriptor preferred by a certain celebrated evil twin of mine),  I’d be a perfect parody of a writer. A tres French writer at that. The only way I can continue sitting here (and I want to because it is actually a very nice place and the coffee is good) is to do so ironically.

Jokes aside, being in this coffee shop, doing what I am doing, got me to a serious breakthrough concerning the difference between being a blogger and being an author, a question I’ve been pondering ever since I started out on this road trip to promote Tempo nearly two weeks ago. Though I have now published a book, I view myself (and usually introduce myself/prefer to be introduced) as a blogger, not “author” or “writer.” It isn’t really about what medium you use or how you write. It is about how you view yourself. Author is a profession within the publishing industry. Blogger is a trade practiced by an individual. Professions and trades both wrap around a skilled craft and a specific way of seeing the world (the “art”), but there the similarities end. Blogger and Author are very different archetypes that lead to very different narratives. Specifically, Author leads to a standard redemption narrative, while Blogger leads to a life-as-performance-art narrative.

So here we go; my first serious and long post on this blog. And yes, it may be a bit confusingly self-referential for those who’ve read Tempo, since it i s a book about archetypes and narratives, but I am sure you’ll be able to keep everything straight. If you haven’t read the book, you should probably read this post first.

Authors versus Bloggers: Ten Differences

Consider the following interesting differences between archetypal authors and archetypal bloggers. By archetypal author I mean somebody with a book contract with a publishing company owned by somebody else, who receives royalties. Self-publishing does not count.

By archetypal blogger, I mean somebody who writes a blog blog and might self-publish a book, like me. I don’t mean a news blog, product marketing blog, online journal or corporate blog. I am also ignoring for the moment the popular hybrid archetype: the blogger who looks for the traditional book deal as the gateway to authorly legitimacy, because I believe that is a temporary phenomenon, a result of people confusing two deeply distinct archetypes.

To make the comparison meaningful, consider authors and bloggers with respect to the same medium: the book (authors can write blogs, and bloggers can write books, so the medium is sort of irrelevant here).

  1. Authors (outside a few specific genres like books about marketing) affect an attitude of marketing being beneath them or a burden imposed on them by the money-minded publisher; bloggers fundamentally view marketing as an artistic (not merely pragmatic) necessity for their work to make aesthetic sense . *
  2. Authors are welcomed by the host at the front door; bloggers are directed by the butler to the delivery entrance, figuratively speaking.
  3. Authors do book tours with a small entourage in tow, fly first class and stay in nice hotels; this blogger at least is driving around alone in a beat-up old car, sleeping on readers’ couches and raiding their refrigerators when feasible.**
  4. Authors autograph their books; I find myself getting somewhat befuddled whenever people ask me to autograph Tempo. It seems silly somehow. It isn’t that sort of book.
  5. Authors delegate the sordid business of actually selling their book to a member of their entourage or the hosting bookstore/organization during book events; I have sold a couple of copies of my book out of the trunk of my car, and though I won’t be doing much of that due to sales-tax messiness, I found it deeply satisfying to personally handle the exchange in a status-leveling sense.
  6. Authors sport an attitude of noblesse oblige towards their readers, and expect readers to come to them en masse in prestigious public venues; I find that I vastly prefer interacting with readers on their turf. Preferably 1:1 or in small groups in their homes. My writing is merely a conversation-starter, not a conversation-object.
  7. Authors are accorded, and expected to demonstrate, high status with respect to their readers. Aesthetically coherent blogging voices tend to exhibit either an equal or lower status with respect to the audience. A blogger who talks down to his/her audience may well grow a following, but their blogs somehow strike me as deeply ugly.
  8. Authors expect and enjoy ascriptive authority and cultural legitimacy for their work, but they need not be particularly reputable in terms of behavior. In fact getting up to disreputable things is almost expected of authors. By contrast, authority and cultural legitimacy don’t really apply to bloggers, but reputation — being known as standing for certain values and modeling certain behaviors — matters a great deal.
  9. Authors expect their authority and cultural legitimacy to be based on critical judgment. Popular sentiment is mostly irrelevant.  By contrast, blogging reputation is almost entirely a matter of popular sentiment.
  10. And perhaps most important: authors derive their cultural legitimacy from being published by someone else; the trade of blogging derives its cultural legitmacy from… well, I’ll get to that at the end, I need some groundwork first.

* A note is in order here. Authors have also historically energetically pursued self-promotional activities, and used to be a lot of open and blatant about it.

** For the record, while I couldn’t afford the entourage and first-class model on my own, I am not actually a starving writer. I still have a decent middle-class income via consulting. But somehow this couchsurfing/refrigerator-raiding model seems like the right way to do my road-trip, not least because it is the antithesis of the Famous Author Book Tour. Doing this trip out of cheap hotels — which I could afford — seems somehow deeply pointless.

That last point — point 10 — is extremely important. The true nature of the publishing industry is revealed by the tension surrounding the notion of “self-published author.”

Self-Publishing versus Vanity Publishing

Profitable self published authors have been trying to claim artistic and cultural legitimacy for their work for decades, based on profitability and popularity. Yet, they’ve never quite managed to shake the association with vanity publishing. True legitimacy eludes them.

My conclusion may seem extreme: the denial of legitimacy is justified. The profitability-based protests are meaningless. Those who make such protests simply don’t get it. If you don’t have somebody else as a publisher and  primarily self-identify as “author,” it is vanity publishing. Period. Even if you sell millions of copies.

Despite his enormous success, Dan Poynter will simply never be considered an “author” in the sense of even the least commercially successful author in (say) Harper Collins’ portfolio, despite making orders of magnitude more money.

The reason is simple and related to point 9: authority and legitimacy being based on critical judgment rather than popular sentiment, with the most important critical judgement being that of the first authority figure (agent or acquisitions editor) who accepts the book. Money and popularity have precisely nothing to do with it. In fact they are framed as burdensome within the context of the traditional publishing marketing narrative, which I will get to next.

This probably sounds surprising coming from me, since I self-published Tempo. The difference is tiny but crucial. I am self-published, but I am not primarily a self-published author. I am a blogger who wrote a book.

It all has to do with the narrative context. Authors are the heroes/heroines of a Campbellian narrative I’ll call the Author’s Journey. Bloggers are the heroes/heroines of a different narrative that I’ll call the Blogger’s Journey which is a series of Campbellian episodes. The artifact — the book — plays a completely different role in the two narratives.

Here’s the difference: in the Author’s Journey, a book is an object of spiritual significance. In the Blogger’s Journey, it is merely a technically optimal choice of medium for a particular writing project. The spiritual significance in the Blogger’s Journey lies elsewhere. Let’s consider each in turn, along with the associated narratives.

The Book as Talisman

The logic of the traditional author’s journey narrative hinges on a single key fact: within that narrative, books are not viewed or understood as economic objects (and certainly not commodities, even in the case of the most formulaic genre romance). They have historically been viewed as spiritual objects. As with the products of the military, healthcare, education and journalism industries, the social role played by books (a matter of spreading truth, beauty, light and values) is viewed as being above mere economics. Emperors and prophets have concerned themselves with books in ways that they have never concerned themselves with potatoes.

Growing up in India, we were expected to treat books as literally heavenly objects (specifically as embodiments of Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge). If you accidentally kicked one, you’d hurriedly touch it and then your forehead, a gesture of obeisance generally reserved for revered elders and idols of gods. Even though I adopted atheist views at a fairly young age, it took me a while longer to shake off this behavior even in private. Today, I have no issues using any book as a doorstop, flyswatter or footrest.

Books in other words, embody a social-spiritual mission, that transcends economic life. They are talismans.

Now in order for books to play this particular cultural role, the author must be perceived as being driven by the logic of truth-seeking or beauty-seeking, not profit-maximization. S/he is the bearer of something holy. The framing narrative of an author seeking to sell a book cannot be the same as the narrative of a farmer selling his potato crop.

Authors cannot afford to be viewed as primarily seeking an income, and especially must not be perceived as willingly playing a role in a larger, collaborative profit-making system. In this respect, authors are like soldiers, professors, doctors, priests or journalists. In each of these industries, the existence of normal Economics 101 type supply/demand dynamics is treated as a dirty insider secret, and those who operate purely by the logic of those dynamics are viewed as villains. We are actually surprised when we learn about the military-industrial complex spinning profits or the extent of the real estate investments of the Catholic Church. Professionals in these industries are expected to present themselves with a certain amount of missionary poverty.

The logic of the potato market is simply viewed as immoral in the context of the social missions of these industries. They must bear the burden of social missions.

The task of managing this burden, while maintaining profitability, falls to the marketing function.

For a book to be credible, the authors must be cast, in the framing narrative, as individualistic heroes/heroines driven by nothing other than creative vision and truth-seeking instincts (whether through poetry, fiction or non-fiction). Any visible evidence that a book was deliberately crafted to be marketable automatically devalues it. This is why authors of genre fiction, formulaic non-fiction or commercial poetry (lyrics for commercials for instance) are accorded a lower status in the pantheon of authors.

And therein lies the marketing problem.

One part of the publishing process — the writing itself — is an act of solitary, individual effort. That’s perfect fodder for the book marketer. Everybody likes the image of the lonely writer, pounding away at the keyboard.

But the publishing industry is anything but individualistic. Like any other industrial process, it requires close coordination and collaboration among many skilled professionals. The economic logic underlying it is not very different from the logic underlying the potato industry or the textile industry. For a book to hit the bookshelves in the traditional model, a lot of specialists have to agree to participate in the process of getting it there. The proposition that they all instantly saw the noble truths and beauties in the book makes us instinctively skeptical. We assume that if the publishing industry loves a book, chances are, it is neither truthful, nor beautiful, but merely marketable.

The way the publishing industry has traditionally solved this problem has been to base its marketing on an exceptionalist narrative: the Author’s Journey.

The Author’s Journey: Exceptionalism as Default

In this narrative (which mainly concerns the first successful book by an author), the author is a lonely, starving creative waiting tables. S/he hopelessly sends (paper) manuscripts around to the slush piles of callously commercial-minded acquisitions editors and greedy agents, collecting the rejection letters as badges of honor. But at some point, a subversive threshold guardian within the industry (a Jerry Maguire-type agent or idealistic acquisitions editor) “discovers” the author by accident and bravely champions the manuscript despite skepticism and resistance from the other soulless, profit-minded denizens of the industry, who reject the manuscript as unmarketable. In the classic version of the Author’s Journey, the counter-argument must be of the “the world needs this book” variety, not “it’s going to be a hit” (that would be stooping to the level of the soulless).

Against all odds, the book makes it to the market. It is critically panned by many critics with unholy agendas (in movie versions, there may even be a popular, sell-out author loved by these critics, set up as a villain). But it is acclaimed by one courageous critic who dares to speak out in support of Beauty and Truth. Book sales are initially terrible, but somehow slowly, enlightenment spreads among the unwashed masses, until finally you get a slightly delayed commercial success. Finally, the author (and the courageous agent/acquisition editor/critic) find redemption, and their soulless adversaries retreat shamefaced.

Beyond that of course, we need a slightly tragic coda (Author is necessarily a tragic archetype): the author must suffer deep depression and angst, retreat from the eager attention of a now-adoring public, and return to his/her lonely journey towards Truth and Art, reluctantly enjoying a slightly more comfortable ride thanks to the money.

The stories of real books of course, rarely have all this charm and drama. But the point is, this is the default narrative framing book marketing, even though it is in practice an exceptional narrative.

How exceptional? Very. This is in fact the classic disruption narrative in innovation theory. The little guy winning against all odds with a new product. This is the story of the Nintendo Wii in the gaming consoles market or Red Bull in the drinks market.

What makes the book industry special is that this narrative is assumed as the implicit background for every book. Every book is implicitly presented as a story of individual courage, resistance by entrenched powers and ultimate redemption for those who stay true to the social-spiritual mission of the industry.

There are a couple of variants of the story (one involves a courageous small publisher and/or independent book store; the other involves self-publishing, as in the case of The Celestine Prophecy, but legitimacy and redemption still lie in being picked up a major publisher. The self-publishing must preferably be the result of persuasion or initiative by a loyal friend; the author must consistently maintain an attitude of reluctance towards commercial success).

For the narrative to work and credibly anchor the marketing, the author must necessarily be distinguishable in the ways I outlined. S/he has to be angsty (or darkly, self-destructively cynical) about marketing, preach loftily about artistic integrity and complain about populism and selling out. The best formula for credibility is in fact a combination of being published by someone else and not doing too well. Doing too well always raises a suspicion of selling out, pandering, populism and various other spiritual-aesthetic sins. Doing modestly well provides the buyers with a basis for feeling special. They can enjoy a sense of being special initiates into sacred knowledge that others are not enlightened enough to see clearly. If everybody gets it, it isn’t that special. Must-read books inevitably turn into must-criticize books.

Popular success is not the proof of value but the source of redemption in the eyes of skeptical industry types and revenge against the soulless villains of the story. The financial rewards must be treated with some disdain, since the soulless villains were guilty of coveting those very rewards.

Returning to the author, the reward for successfully managing this tension has traditionally been ascriptive authority and social prestige that is uncorrelated to income. Authors are celebrity-sages who are put up on talking-head pedestals, and had better enjoy playing Minor Deity. This is often genuinely hard, since many authors internalize the tortured-artist persona and the Author’s Journey narrative so completely that they live the story very genuinely . One symptom of this is the lingering suspicion of computers. A common trope in movies about authors is stubborn insistence on longhand or typewritten manuscripts, a case of authors deeply internalizing the spiritual, talismanic status of the object they create. Using a word processing program with a pristine interface on a Mac helps a little in absolving the author of the sin of using a computer.

The process I used (using a very geeky typesetting software, LaTeX, that requires some programming skill, a version-control system and a PC) is beyond barbaric. Beyond holding certain opinions about fonts, authors are not supposed to get their hands dirty with the technical details of the publishing trade.

The Blogger’s Journey

Within the Author’s Journey narrative, the self-publisher used to have only one option: aspire to the status of author, and somehow get around the obvious disconnect between playing the reluctant truth-seeking individualist hero/heroine the script requires, and revealing their actual intentions (commercial success) by taking on the task of self-publishing.

Blogging though, has changed the equation drastically.

At the heart of the Blogger’s Journey, as I said is the demotion of the physical book from the status of sacred talisman. The decision to write a book instead of (say) a blog series is merely a technical choice by a craftsperson.

For the blogger, used to thinking in terms of many media (blogs, wikis, guest blogs on other sites, videos, podcasts), the spiritual significance of the physical book is at best something of an lingering affectation that seems almost embarrassing and juvenile.  To the blogger (well, most bloggers), it is obvious that it is merely a form that contains writing. One with specific affordances (long narrative arcs, the higher risk/reward profile due to the longer gestation in a no-feedback phase, different writing software). The paper book in addition, has one affordance that the Kindle cannot replicate: autographability (business idea: market Kindle covers designed for autographability).

This does not mean that the Blogger’s Journey narrative lacks a spiritual dimension. The spirituality of the book in the case of the Author’s Journey is a case of convergence of process and medium. For the blogger, the two are separate, and it is the writing process that has spiritual significance as a truth-and-beauty-seeking way of life, not the particular form.

Human spirituality (and I include my kind of atheism) seeks forms, and the transference of the spiritual significance to the artifact — the book — is a natural consequence of a single-medium era.

But this transference is impossible for a blogger. In my own case for instance, The Gervais Principle series of posts will likely always remain more famous than Tempo, but it seems somehow ridiculous to project any spiritual significance onto even that most successful of my blog posts. The creation of blog posts is too social a process for that to work. Those of you who have asked me to autograph Tempo: would you print out the Gervais Principle series and ask me to autograph that? I hope that sounds as silly to you as it does to me.

So the Blogger’s Journey must rely on a different archetype derived from a different parent, and different spiritual objects, if any.

The Author archetype is derived from the broader Artist archetype. The parent for Blogger that makes the most sense to me is the archetype of Trader.”Artist” is at best a step-mother.

Everything makes sense and feels natural when I think this way. Traders go to the service door, not the front door. Traders must manage reputation, not authority.  Traders have interesting stories to share from their journeys. A trade is not a profession — it is a more independent sort of social role. Like the author the trader requires others to deliver value, but is not dependent on them.

The Blogger’s Talismans

When a Trader’s Journey lends itself to romance, you find the spiritual significance in the tools of the trade, not in the objects the trade creates. The trader is also fundamentally a nomad, and much of the romance of the trader’s life derives from his/her nomadic wanderings. The romance of the trade of the sailor lies in the hidden mysteries of his trunk, the stories he tells and the obscure appeal of his telescope, sextant and compass. The Trader’s Journey is not the single epic journey of the Hero, but the many sequential adventures of a character like Sinbad. It is a television show, not a movie.

As a descendent of the Trader, the Blogger must base his/her marketing narrative on a Sinbad-like series-of-adventures narratives, and the spiritual significance of tools rather than products.

This is why a road trip designed to get me into (rather tame, I admit) adventures makes vastly more sense than a traditional book tour.

And of course, you need the element of self-aware irony. That’s where the element of performance art comes in. Unlike the traveling salesman, sailor or carpenter, the story-life of the Blogger is in ironic, tongue-in-cheek presentation. Yes, I expect to have interesting stories to tell from this road trip (and I have already collected several), but it’s performance art.

And I totally did not plan this, but a lot of my own past actions make a great deal of sense now. When I have waxed spiritual in my writings, the object of my attention has always been a tool of my trade: an hourglass that was significant in a writing group I organized, a scrap-metal cat sculpture that has kept me company on my writing adventures and most recently, a computer that came with a story attached (the story is that you guys bought it for me, it was a crowd-funded laptop). The laptop has enough of an animistic personality that naming it barbarian was an act of ritual significance for me. If I ever get really famous, I bet you those objects will be worth more than signed copies of my book.

Legitimacy for the Blogger

Finally I can answer the question I posed in point 10 of my itemized list. If authors derive their legitimacy from being published by somebody else, how do bloggers get their legitimacy?

The answer lies in the life-as-performance-art angle. Authors must write books that threshold guardians (agents and acquisition editors) view as interesting. Bloggers must live lives that others view as interesting. They must have Adventures, with a capital A. If they write books, each book must be an adventure. The story of the book must be as interesting to tell as the book must be to read.




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  1. Laurie Webster says

    Interesting sets of analogies. . . Trader is equivalent to my “label” of a bricoleur. Roughly translated, I carry around a set of bits and pieces that I creatively apply with my work. And it is like performance art because you need to keep performing for your work to be visible.
    Thanks for sharing.
    p.s. sorry I missed you when you were in Troy, NY.

  2. Nice.
    This post reminded me of a hw assignment I had where I distinguished between a trade, profession, and craft within journalism, and I didn’t see it at the time but after reading this post I dug it out and read it again, realizing the differences I make between the three rely on the motivation for writing a piece, and the way a piece is assimilated into society; whether a writer is under contract, or a freelancer, or trying to publish material to uphold standing ideals, manipulate an already popular standard, or make an expression of their identity without any preconceived intention.
    I really like your idea of spiritual significance, and a spiritual talisman. It seems like a good metaphor to use in order to dig out the motif of really anything. Finding where a spiritual significance resides finds you a crux of a narrative.

  3. One distinction I am surprised your didn’t include though the hints of it are apparent throughout:

    The book is a finished product while a blog is constantly evolving.

    The fact that many (most?) self published books are done by people who maintain a blog is significant. The self published book has less of that romantic appeal because it is assumed to be shaped by the interaction with the audience. It isn’t pure! It isn’t solely the product of one isolated mind creating something perfect.

    The traditional publishing business model feeds this perception. Everything must be perfect before it goes to print because the second edition might not arrive for years, if ever. By contrast, the blog is immediately editable, and I assume the self published book is somewhat more easily revised as well.

  4. Veronica says

    This thing seems quite deep to me. In fact, I think you’ve really nailed it.

    That said, I wonder where I fit it? I’m a bit of an amateur writer who “publishes” by posting my stuff to websites. Folks read it and enjoy it. I get a fair number of responses. In fact, by my best estimates, over a thousand people read my last thing. (That’s sort of a guess, but it did get well over 10,000 downloads.)

    Anyhow, sure Random House won’t be impressed, but I’m happy. I feel like there is a very small corner of the world where I matter.

    Anyhow, a long time ago I realized that the publishing game was a bad bet for someone like me. I write pretty non-mainstream stuff. I’m unlikely to hit some mass-culture sweet-spot at just the right time — such as pretty vampires or whatever. I doubt I’d ever make serious money. And frankly, the whole agent/publisher/rejection-letter game seems terribly unpleasant to me.

    I’d rather give my dreams away than sell them cheap to those people.

    All that said, I don’t feel like a blogger (although I blog). I certainly buy into the “truth-seeker” thing. Well, at least, I take my writing very seriously and want to create deep and thoughtful stories (within the limits of my genre — don’t ask).

    So, I don’t know. I’m pretty sure that you’re right about a lot though.

  5. I have to disagree with your generalisation of self publishers, although I agree some are vanity publishing. But you miss some important points in your generalisation of authors too, as not all authors do books signings or autographs – this is especially true of those using pen names to stay hidden. Nor do all authors feel anything for their readers. Many published authors are well known for not liking their readers or welcoming them at places.

    I think it’s best to define authors as people who write books to be read at any time for relaxation or to be education, be they on academic subjects, reference works, or fiction. While bloggers are more like the editors pages or letters pages in a newspaper, as it’s where people make personal comments on things, or the page where a reporter goes on about anything. Also, I think Vanity Publishers are those who write a book, print up copies at their own expense, and then proceed to give them away free or cheap. That’s totally different to those who place a book at places like Lulu as a self publisher and then let people print them as they buy them. This has no expense by the author at all, while Vanity Publishing does.

    You appear to totally ignore some other important facts, like most publishers not wanting unsolicited manuscripts unless they come via agents they approve of. These means authors having to pay agents, and an author having to be lucky to get their book in the door. It also means the print publishes often end up printing some horrid garbage. You also overlook people who did so well as self publishers that the print publishers chased them down and offered them huge sums to print their books.

    I suspect you base your validation of legitimacy for authors as having gone through an external editorial selection process. If that’s the case, where do you place e-publishers like Dpdotcom ( who accept unsolicited manuscripts but have an editorial panel that decides if they’ll take a story or not? Also, where do you put people who self publish through people like Lulu ( and are then approached by people from Amazon or Barnes & Noble to make their books available through them?

    There’s also the question of the many free web sites that carry stories from e-writers, places like Stories On Line (, Fine Stories (, and other web sites where you pay to access the stories.

    Then you can add to the mix with authors who put a story up at a place like Fine Stories or Stories On Line as well as at Lulu, and have people buying print copies from Lulu to hand out to friends.

    The writing industry is very different now, and I think your concepts of what self publishing means is decades out of date and still stuck in the days where self publishing meant getting a few hundred copies printed out at a Vanity Printing service and personally handing them. Toady a self publisher makes the story available to printers around the world to print as readers demand, and that’s where the whole industry is going. There and e-books via things like Kindle, iPad, and the other e-book readers. Some mainstream publishing houses are already heading in this direction, check out Baen Books ( and how they now operate.



    National Novel Writing Month winner 2009, 2010

    Printed and downloaded copies of stories are available at:

  6. Ernest:

    I think you cometely misunderstood my point. I was using a prototypical kind of ‘author’ in the public imagination as a basis for examining the Mythos surrounding the social role of ‘author’ in traditional publishing.

    The intent was to partly satirize self-publishers’ rather desperate attempts to seek legitimacy. I am self published myself, but I try not to let exactly the vast array of confusing (and largely irrelevant) facts cloud the psychology of what’s going on.

    This is a post about the psychology and perceptions (self and outside) of the calling of writing. It is not a post about the industry.

    • G’day,

      Sorry, but that’s NOT how it came across, as it didn’t read like satire to me. It seemed to me to be very specific about a key part of the industry, while ignoring other aspects, and the serious changes taking place. I know a lot of self publishing authors are writing nothing but rubbish, but so are a lot of people who get their books published by the big print houses. Also, the sort of external verification and validation of a story’s worth now comes from a lot sources, and the validation by a publisher’s editor is only one of them. The greatest validation for story is when you put it aside for several weeks, and then give it another edit prior to sending it off to another person for editing and proof reading.

      There are many Vanity Writers out there doing Vanity self publishing, but they are far out numbered by legitimate authors who can’t get a toe in the main print publishing world as the editors and publishers aren’t interested in doing business with anyone except the agents who are their friends. If my memory serves me right, I think Grisham had to self publish and self promote his first few books because the publishers weren’t interested and the agents would touch him; no look at him. I don’t claim to be another Grisham, but I get angry at being called a vain fool. I work hard to write what I write, and have improved my style and writing over the years.

      I do most of writing on line as I do NOT have any access to the print publishers, nor do I have the money to pay the costs of organising an agent, I live in a rural area of New South Wales, Australia. Thus, my only means of getting to the market is on-line as a self publisher or via e-publishing of some sort. I use a number of electronic publishing options that include an e-publisher based in Ireland, and free story web site based in Canada. Through all of them, I have over two million words of fiction stories out there in over seventy stories; ranging from very short stories, through novellas, novels, and super novels.

      Some of these would never interest the main publishing houses due to the content, some would. I do derive a small income from them, but some are put out as free as I know the content is not commercial, or the size isn’t commercial (few places will take a story with 278,000 words in it), or a few other reasons. I get validation of the value of my work via many sources; the editor for those that go through the e-publisher and they accept, the downloads from the free sites – over half a million downloads all up at the moment, feedback from readers and other writers, and income sales from Lulu.

      I do not seek legitimacy, as I already have it, and it annoys me that you appear to deny it. I know many other self publishing authors who are also at the same level. Many self publishing authors talk about sales or downloads, as that’s the only measure they have in common; just the same way the print publishers talk about sales when advertising the second print run. how else would you try to have them measure their books against others. If I wrote a physics treatise, I’d expect to have a peer review from other physicists, but when I write a fiction story to entertain people, who is a valid peer to review it? Other authors, critics (most known for getting it wrong), or readers? How do you measure the readers? Only via sales or downloads if free and on-line.

      Bloggers write to say what they think, authors write to say other things. Fiction authors write to be entertaining, and some of us include something in the story to be educational or thought provoking; to get a message across, but buried within the story. We have different intentions and different aims and different styles. We also have widely different audiences, and anyone who writes, aims their content at the intended audience; unless they wish to write drivel.

      Sorry, but I see this blog as being well out of order, especially if it was meant to do what you say in the response. You missed the mark by a county or two. What you did say is much like what a lot of the editors say to justify their position of refusing to look at manuscripts that don’t come through their favoured agents. That sort of bigotry gets my dander up.



      • Laurie Webster says

        Wow Ernest – You seem to have an axe to grind. You made your points. Now just let go!

        • G’day Laurie,

          It’s not so much as grinding an axe, but refusing to be spoken down to. I had made my point and have no intention of saying anything more, except as may be required in response to comments. As my second post was.