Thursday, October 13, 2005

Sandy Tooley Part Deux

Lots of animosity out there in cyberspace toward the self-published, which I don't exactly understand.

If you personally feel that those who self-publish are deluded, wasting their time, and are only in print because they have no talent to get a regular publisher contract, you're entitled to your opinion. But to insult them under the guise of being 'helpful' isn't helpful at all. It's hurtful, and doesn't serve any purpose.

Sandy Tooley is a success. Her books are selling. She has many loyal fans. If you decide to self-publish, she's an example of how to do it the right way. Full Moon Publishing has been around for a while, and is in no danger of fading away.

Sandy emailed me yesterday with these comments:

"I grilled my mother before her death and she assured me I am legitimate. No milkman involved.

Anonymous explained exactly why I submitted review copies and cover letters under a fictitious name: I wanted my books reviewed based on their merit, not PRE-judged as something self-published and unworthy of a read. My books have won numerous awards as well as a short story being a finalist for the Derringer Award.

As to memoirs, they are very hard to sell, as told to me by a number of publishers when I tried to find a home for the memoirs of a 78 yr old woman. Of course, if it is the memoirs of Paris Hilton's dog, it's a very easy sell. The six major conglomerates who control what gets published don't always base their selections on talent.

There was a time when a writer had to be published in hard cover to warrant credibility. Then times changed and they decided mass market paperbacks weren't so bad. Self-publishers were always there to kick around but now we have POD-published writers as the new can on the block to kick down the street.

I have been in the publishing business now for seven years. The only thing that hasn't changed is the stigma. As I mentioned in my interview in this month's issue of Crimespree Magazine, if this were any other business--filmmaker, home builder, software creater, recording artist--where the person chooses to learn the business and do everything on his own, he would be heralded as an innovative, self-motivated, free-thinking individual.

The other important point I have learned is the amount of money to be made when you own all your rights and control all facets of the business. I always tell other writers to first try to find an agent or publisher because doing it yourself isn't for the ill-prepared or faint at heart."

If you don't read Crimespree, and you're in the mystery business, pick up a subscription. It's a great mag.

I also happen to agree with Sandy's points.

Art is a popularity contest. The greatest artists are the ones that sell the most. Many artists were failures in their lifetimes, Van Gogh and Mozart come to mind. But their popularity caught on, and they became revered.

However, their work was just as good during their lives--it hasn't changed.

What makes an artist legitimate? Since art is subjective, there's only one true measure of an artist's success... the number of people who buy the art.

Sandy has over 20,000 books in print. In my eyes, that's a success.