Notes from An Alien

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Tag Archives: Tell Me I’m Pretty

#Authorship and #Publishing ~ “Tell Me I’m Pretty”

Should authors decide how their book should be promoted?


Image Courtesy of Marinela Prodan ~

Are the agents and editors of traditional publishing (and their industry cohorts) the only people on the planet who know what’s best for an author?

To begin to answer those questions, I’ll share excerpts from an article by Gene Doucette—best-selling author, screenwriter, and playwright—but first, I’ll quote from one of my own articles—Are Readers Going To Be The New Gatekeepers?:

“Should more readers demand that authors forget about genre and write what the unique combination of theme, plot, and character demands of their creativity?”

“Is it conceivable that the reading public could select books based on plot characteristics or character interactions or theme arcs?”

“I do believe that, eventually, readers will have an exceedingly easy time in finding exactly what they desire; and, that they will become the primary ‘gatekeepers’ in the Book-World.”

Gene’s article is oh, so appropriately called, Tell Me I’m Pretty.

Here are a few excerpts:

“The argument is that the gatekeepers in the traditional publishing path are important because they know what’s actually of good quality, but the industry they man the gates for is interested in what will actually sell.”

“They’re there to pick books they think will sell, and it turns out ‘quality manuscripts’ and ‘books that will sell’ aren’t always the same thing.  And that means the marketplace itself makes for a better gatekeeper.”

Here comes the part where authors want someone to tell them they’re “pretty”:

“Writing can be terrifyingly feedback-free, and we’re not necessarily the best ones to ask if we have talent.  We want someone else to tell us, and we want that someone to be a person whose opinion actually matters.

“In traditional publishing, the people whose opinions matter are called agent, editor, or publisher, and it wasn’t so long ago that theirs was the only opinion that mattered, because if they didn’t think you were pretty, nobody else got an opportunity to weigh in.

“That’s no longer true, because self-publishing doesn’t require the advance opinion of anyone in the traditional publishing industry.”

Any author who’s agonizing over whether to (very likely) suffer through massive rejection from the traditional gatekeepers or learn what’s necessary to self-publish needs to read Gene’s full article.

Also, you might want to check out the 145 articles on self-publishing that I’ve written—this article will also be at that link since I must tag it with “self-publishing” :-)

I’ll end this post with a powerful statement from Gene:

“What I’m saying is, let the marketplace tell you you’re pretty.  In the end, it’s the only opinion that matters.”

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