If my name were Lady Gaga, LeBron James, Tom Brady, Oprah Winfrey, or Lady Gaga, my novel The Cameron Womenwould have been published with one phone call to a New York publisher. If I committed mass murder, same thing. Even if I just ran naked in front of the White House, I’d have no trouble getting a major publisher to produce my novel. Celebrity. Headlines. National news story. Those people can get published whenever they feel like writing a book.
This helps explain why I am one of a million-plus writers who self-published last year. Because none of us is a celebrity or a notorious criminal, our chances of getting an agent, let alone a publisher, to read our queries is pretty much nil. Certainly not that we million self-publishers are potential bestsellers; but we’ll never know as we can’t even get into the game.
Certainly among these self-published books are titles that have, let’s say, a limited audience. We’ve all read a form of Granny Gert’s Life On The Farm, Cousin Melody’s “ How To Find Peace And Lose Fat Forever,” Uncle Ed’s Growing Up In Belding. Nevertheless, we have to believe that among those million unheralded, self-published book are many we wouldlike to read. One stigma self-publishing can’t escape is that it used to be called “vanity publishing” so all writers could say we’d written a book.
I’m guessing the term “vanity” deterred many serious writers from trying because of that pejorative adjective.Once “vanity” was replaced with “self,” more writers felt comfortable publishing their own books.
I just finished reading a novel from a major publisher that makes my point. After Gillian Flynn’s novel Gone Girl sold a gazillion copies and became a major motion picture, the copy catting began. Every book store soon had shelves of thriller novels featuring a psychotic female killer. The one I just read is by another writer who has jumped on this new genre’s bandwagon. Why I finished it, I don’t know because it is not worth reading. And for that reason I will not name it or the author.
With a typical female-creepy cover, the plot features a secret woman stalker lurking in the background of the main female character, an artist with a “secret past.” The female stalker is set up to be the psychotic female fitting the Gone Girl model. But, AHA! Not so fast! Not until the end do we find out the stalker is not a “gone girl” crazy female at all, but a male dressed as a female! And if this twist weren’t weird enough, the she-he stalker is the artist’s own brother! And it’s his incestuous love for her that leads to the bloody and horror-story denouement.
Now tell me. Are there not among those million self-published writers better books than this?