Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Emperor's New Book

Many are familiar with the fable, The Emperor's New Clothes, in which an emperor and his royal subjects are taught the ignorance of blindly following other's just because an "Authority" has deemed something as worthy of distinction and admiration. Yet it took the innocence of a young child, who had not yet been corrupted by such conditioning, to point out the obvious fact that the emperor was not wearing the best and latest in fashion, and that he was indeed naked!

     I would like to make an analogy of this story with the publishing industry. For the most part we can be assured that well-respected major publishing companies will not publish bad quality books. They will have been scrutinized thoroughly by editors, and corrections and revisions will be made before the final product is released for sale. However, does this mean that every book on the shelf of bookstores is a good quality book? I can tell you that I have seen books on shelves in major bookstores that made me wonder how on earth such nonsense was deemed worthy of publishing. And it is rare if I can read any book, irrespective of publisher, without catching at least one error, whether it is punctuation, grammar, or typo. Granted there are a lot of indie published books that are of low quality and lack the refinement of a professional editing staff, however, there are quite a few that I have read that are of a caliber equal to, if not better than, some of the major published books I have read.

      As an indie author myself it may seem I would be biased against major publishers, however, this is not the case. I would love to have my work picked up by a reputable major publisher and enjoy the marketing influence they have to better distribute my work. My point in writing this article is to combat the stigma that surrounds indie published work, and to keep readers from falling for the fallacy that only books that are distributed by major publishers are worth reading. True, some indie books have very simplistic looking covers, and your first reaction is to think that it is also indicative of the quality of writing within. But I would argue that you should not automatically dismiss a book because it is not found on the shelves of major bookstores. You may be passing up some of the best stories you will ever read that have just not yet had the opportunity to be recognized by major publishers and received the benefit of their professional cover design artists. That being said, I would like to offer this challenge: make your next book purchase that of an unknown author (it doesn't have to be my book) and see if you are not pleasantly surprised.

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