Saturday, April 13, 2013


My collection of rejection from The New York Times is enriched by one more letter about self-publishing. This time, it was my response to a polemic between Maureen Sullivan’s (ALA) and Scott Turow (Author’s Guild) over the question of diminishing royalties to authors:

I agree with Maureen Sullivan (Letters, April 11) that librarians should love authors. As President of ALA, she knows that they are our natural allies.

But I also agree with Scott Turow oposition (Op-Ed April 10) to the trend to make everyone but the writers themselves profit from their labor. As President of the Authors Guild, he stands against further erosion of authors’ right to some fruit of their labor.

Missing from this debate is the question of the livelihood of independent authors, whose writings aren’t offered by mainstream publishers. Many don’t even earn the Authors Guild’s minimum requirement of a $500 annual income from their books. A great number of worthy titles are hidden from library patrons simply because they are self-published. Their authors don’t have the same access to the reading public, which should be the ultimate arbiter of their success of failure.

By the standards of today’s acquisition policies, Huckleberry Finn, Ulysses, and Zane Grey, alongside with works of Virginia Woolf, Marcel Proust and a long list of today’s classics would still bef ound only in the modern version of Samizdat  -- self-published but not on library shelves.

Our non-profit association of indie writers Is trying to level the playing field and gain acceptance by libraries of worthy titles by self-published authors. We offer indie books objective scrutiny by volunteer professionals, without any bias of personal taste or monetary gain.

We advocate both protection of intellectual propertiy rights and equitable royalties for all authors, self- or otherwise published.  All would benefit if the readers had access to all books to decide on their value and the resulting income of authors..

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