Fellow self-published brothers and sisters:
I am a serious Australian young adult fiction writer, author, photographer and sometime poet who has been working fulltime for 12 years. I recently published my first book which has won two awards in the Australian National Literary Awards, and am about to publish my second book. I rejected four contracts for the first book (Sydney, Melbourne, London and New York) after consulting a literary lawyer. Hopefully I can offer some ideas from the 'land downunder'.
Here are my thoughts:
1. Maybe a You-tube video, Twitter or Facebook connection etc could be organised to advertise this push to gain recognition. Publicity and numbers are the keys to the success of this.
2. It might be an idea to obtain the views of self-published authors from each country represented: USA, Europe, Australia, UK etc. It could be interesting to learn the differences from one country to another. Example: I gather authors in the US must have an agent before they approach a publisher. In Australia, agents are as rare as dinosaur eggs.
3. Could we not organise the most lucrative book prize in the world? That would make publishers sit up and listen and give us some power and publicity. Publishers would want to enter the books of their cherished authors. Give Bill Gates a call!!!
4. (a)Yes, each book must have a prestigious seal of approval - an internationally accepted and recognised logo. Also, the world must learn what we are doing and everyone must immediately recognise the logo!!!
(b) Each approved book must have an ISBN.
(c) Each book must be registered with the Library of Congress ... Australian National Library etc
5. Once some books have been given the seal of approval, can we maybe organise for three top publishing house editors to look at them? It is a conciliatory way of keeping 'in' with them, not 'opposing' them. Honey is sweet, vinegar is sour. Their comments might also give weight to our 'seal of approval logo'. OR, why not have some famous authors read our approved books and give their official sanction. That would give our organisation some clout.
6. This must become a worldwide movement, one picked up by the press and all media and social media outlets.
7. When we are suitably backed and supported by thousands of writers, it would be wonderful to contact a distributor and bookseller to take all of our approved books without question. It might be in their best interest to do so, especially financially, considering how many self-published authors exist, and are coming on the scene.
8. In view of what is written in points 1-3 below, pressure must be placed on major book awards to accept 'approved' indiependent authors' books.
9. I am a member of an Australian organisation for self-published authors. I have contacted the president and suggested that their organisation fully back this movement. Suggestion: there must be other such organisations around the world. They also must get onboard. Trust me. Numbers are the key to success! This is not an 'us' and 'them' scenario. No, I see it as writers stepping up to the plate and barking to be taken seriously and fairly, and have their work judged on its merits. That's it! Simple. Done and dusted.
1. I recently self-published a book to enter major Aussie book contests to gain some recognition. Mm ... the results were disappointing indeed. It is a closed shop. Example: the most expensive book award in Australia is the Children's Book Council of Australia Awards (CBCA) - revered by teachers, parents and librarians as the doyen reference. It cost just under $400 AUD and ten books to enter. Everyone on the short list was a well established author, none were self-published and all of the 30 short-listees were published through mainstream publishers. Not only ... at the bottom of their list of short-listed authors were two paragraphs that were blatant: DONORS & BENEFACTORS. Yep, 3 of the 30 short-listed authors were donors! 27 of the 30 publishers were benefactors of the CBCA!
2. I have been fighting a battle with the Australian Prime Minister's Office for some months. Why? Because self-published authors cannot enter the PM's Literary Awards! The First Assistant Secretary and I have become friendly adversaries. However, I've had one major victory. Now, we have a poetry category in the PM's Awards. Amazing to think we never had one in the first place, considering that one of our most famous Australian authors and poets, Andrew Barton 'Banjo' Paterson, is depicted on our ten-dollar note and is the author of Waltzing Matilda! Hello!
3. Now, in recent days, the State Premier of Victoria's Literary Awards have opened. Mm ... self-published authors are NOT allowed to enter!
Guys, I've been battling against the odds for some time. Not only, very few authors have the courage to challenge those with the 'power', or write the emails I have written to the likes of our Prime Minister etc. I am fully behind you, but this must become a worldwide movement to change the thinking of publishers and distributors. The bottom line is simple. In regard to major book awards, the judges are not judging the full literary talent of this country - only a small percentage. So, who is really looking for the next Dickens, John Grisham or Lord Jeffrey Archer?
By the way, two years ago in Australia, the two biggest selling books were self-published. Yep, 'Underbelly' and '4 Ingredients' - one about Aussie crime barons and the other a simple cookbook. Both have gone from rags to riches - movies etc.
Thanks for listening.
CT (Clancy TuckerFrom the land downunder