Monday, August 16, 2010

In Response to Rachelle Gardner’s Hair Ripping Blog

This blog is a response to literary agent Rachelle Gardner’s blog and comments on self-publishing. I posted it last November and received such a great response I felt the need to re-post it. (

If I were Rachelle, I’d be ripping my hair out at the roots. Why can’t we all just agree to disagree?

Can a self-published author find an agent and publisher? Yes and no. The question is: Is the writing good enough? The answer: That depends upon the author. For example: I have three POD suspense novels available through my website: I have painstakingly edited each novel and put my heart into every sentence. Some self-published authors have not. Some authors slap words on a page, or worse yet stream-of-conscientiousness on a page, and call that a book.

Recently, an author published by Simon & Schuster sent an email asking why I had chosen to go with POD. She stated that my work had been edited, I have a natural talent and that I had captured her interest from the beginning of the book. My answer: I listened to God and my husband. “Get the work out there and they will respond,” my husband said. So, I did and my novels are selling.

One of the responses I received to this blog stated a reluctance to purchase a self-published book because, “They are so horribly edited.” This reader paid twenty dollars for a book and found spelling errors. Yes, we all know Word corrects those for us; however, this author didn’t bother to use the spell-check. Yes, I agree not editing the work does give self-publishers a bad rap.

Another reader responded that books are expensive enough as it is and would rather pay money for one published by a reputable company than take a chance with a self-published author who may not have edited his/her book.

One reader made a contrary response. This one stated that with traditional publishing the author in many cases has to do all their own promotional work. In addition, the author has to sell a lot of novels to earn a return, so unless the publisher was going to pay a large advance, there was no advantage to publishing the traditional route.

Finally, one reader stated that, “Self-publishing doesn't equate second class books. It could. But it doesn't have to!”

What do I think? Can a self-published author find an agent and publisher? Absolutely! Will it happen? Well, that depends upon the author.

What do you think? Do you believe a self-published author can find an agent and publisher? Do you prefer going the traditional route or do you prefer self-publishing? Have you had any luck going the traditional way? I’d love to hear your responses.


  1. What, exactly, are you responding to on my blog? (Each post has its own URL.)

  2. Rachelle,

    I was responding to your blog on whether or not your followers believe a self-published author could find an agent and a publisher. It seemed no one could agree on 'yes' or 'no' and that readers weren't going to let the subject go.

    My response was, "Can't we all agree to disagree." Those who said 'yes' presented good reasons why an author can find an agent and publisher. Those who said 'no' also presented good reasons why.

  3. I went to check out Rachelle Gardner's original post(s). She had a side link for self-publishing, and from it I got this url with 8 very good articles on SP:
    The article in question I think is one of the ones posted on November 20 & 21, 2009 and Feb 5, 2009. She made some excellent points.

    Yes, it is true that there is shoddy work being done out there by self-pubbed authors. Often these authors are simply not at a stage in their writing where they are ready for traditional publishing, so they short-cut the process and self-publish. On top of that, they don't have a good editor go over their work, and the book is printed with mistakes. A shame! I've recently decided to experiment with a POD (print-on-demand) book, but with a novel I've decided to retire from traditional circulation. However, I still am aspiring to find an agent and a traditional publisher for my "stronger" YA works. In my thinking, my POD book will get a few more readers than if I had shelved the book, which is cool. Still, I am hoping my POD book is more quality writing than the bulk of self-pubbed books, and that I haven't missed any glaring typos. I'd be mortified if I have!