Do "indie authors" water down book markets?

Traditional publishers are picky and famous for giving 1000 rejections for every acceptance letter they write. No book submitted to their editors escapes careful consideration and the process of being picked apart for worthiness. 

Why? All in the name of promoting quality. But frankly, they have a point. There should be a mechanism to control the quality of books being published for general consumption.

But then, what about all the great books that proved to be great successes only after the author resorted to self-publishing to ever see the book in print? Does the chance that more true gems will be brought to light by publishing their own work justify the risk of book markets being watered down by shoddy writers?

Hmmm. What do you think?


7 Comments Add yours

  1. I read an article about this recently, and I think there is no one correct answer. Yes, it is true that “indie authors” may water down the market, but (as you point out), sometimes it is just so hard to get published – no matter how worthy you might actually be.

    But on the other hand, with services such as Amazon’s KDP and CreateSpace, it is almost too easy. Up to just a few years ago, relatively, it was still very costly to self-publish; now you can do it for absolutely free and just sit back and let the (very small) checks roll in.

    I think, perhaps, that you should be able to self-publish an ebook for free (because people that read only ebooks don’t deserve access to well-written literature anyway *ahem*), but that self-publishing a real, ink&paper book should at least come at a cost.

    And that’s only for writing. What about Youtube for film and music, Instagram for “photography,” and so on and so forth?


  2. Kim-Lee (Your Writing Lady) says:

    I wasn’t even aware that you could do it for free now. That’s scary. (unless Wattpad counts, somehow?). I’m seeing too many crappy ebooks floating around and yes, anyone who only reads ebooks …yeah. Let’s leave that unsaid.

    It’s interesting to think about. Both traditional and indie publishing have their pros and cons, but I guess so does the rest of life. I can’t help but thinking that there must be a way to control self-publishing somewhat, without becoming as stringent as a trad publisher.

    But then again, that’s probably why the traditional publishers are the way they are.
    Looks like a circular thing going on there. :/

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Amazon:KDP “Kindle Direct Publishing” (ebooks)
    Amazon:CreateSpace (paper)



  4. Reblogged this on Cacophony and commented:
    This is an intriguing thought from Kim-Lee at The opportunity for anybody to be published is something that I never questioned, but should it really be a readers problem to have to weed through the bullshit of terrible writing? There are already too many bloggers aspiring to be published authors with their uninspiring, thoughtless drivel. Classify me in that group if you feel it necessary, but it remains a question worth asking. Feel free to express your thoughts here, or check out Kim-Lee’s blog to discuss it at the source of the question.


  5. This is an awesome question. Thanks for bringing it up. I never really thought about it before. It’s easy to dismiss this by saying, “everyone should have a chance to have their voice heard,” but should that really be a readers problem?

    Writers write so readers can read, but are we now asking readers to be talent scouts by allowing anybody’s work to get into print? That’s not what readers are meant to do, and, quite honestly, I don’t think there are too many of them that would be very good at distinguishing quality writing from poorly written work.

    It begs the question, could the quality of written work being published actually have an adverse effect on the quality of readers? Are we not only hurting the market but also destroying our audience in the process?


    1. Kim-Lee (Your Writing Lady) says:

      Very good questions Mj. I like that phrase “talent scouts.” Sums it up nicely. And yes! I think we could be destroying audiences by having them wade through too much uninspired content and knowing how humans usually operate, once we see too much crap coming from a certain source, we will stop searching for good apples and assume the whole barrel is a write-off.


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