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Feedback from Self-Published Authors

This Sunday’s New York Times has a couple of interesting letters in the Book Review section, responding to Rachel Donadio’s essay of on POD publishing. Maryann McFadden and Daryl Pebbles (AKA Hutton Hayes) are published authors. Click here to read their letters in full. Ms. McFadden originally published her master’s thesis, a novel, as a POD. She describes herself as “one of those rare exceptions: my self-published novel, which began as my master’s thesis, sold enough copies to land a good agent who sold it at auction. My novel, “The Richest Season,” will be published by Hyperion in June.” Mr. Peebles, who writes under the pseudonym Hutton Hayes, describes self-published authors as “voices lost in the muddled middle who spend five years writing a novel and seek the same opportunity for survival as traditionally published authors. They may sell 200 books, or 200,000, or only one, but now they can, at least, be read.”

Cheers to both Ms. McFadden and Mr. Peebles. They remind us that that money, although a nice side benefit, is often not the carrot that keeps us going; rather, it’s the love of the written word, the desire to be read and, thus, heard.

Categories: Print on Demand Self-publishing

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Marie A Bailey

Writer, blogger, knitter, cat lover, and introvert.

6 replies

  1. I’m sure Daryl Pebbles has a good reason for his point of view, probably personal experience, but as an acquiring editor who began at S&S more than 46 years ago I can assure him that academic writing programs are by no means the primary source or farm system for first novelists. Publishers would like nothing more than to discover that first novel that comes out of nowhere, doesn’t cost a fortune to acquire, and makes a big splash, the first of many if the author will remain in the fold. More first novels are published every year, more in 2007 than 2006, a solid indication of how desparately we want to find that great new writer. No kidding, it’s really different on the other side of the desk. It’s the publisher who needs and seeks the writer. The problem is, as TS Elliot said famously, most writers can’t write.


  2. Mr. Rinzler, thank you for stopping by and sharing your perspective from “the other side of the desk.” It is heartening to hear that traditional publishers really do want to discover first novels. The challenge for the writer is how to get out of the slush pile and to the publisher’s attention, if the writer wants to go the traditional publishing route (and I’m sure most if not all writers would prefer that). Personally, I found Ms. McFadden’s story more inspiring because her self-published novel got the attention of a good agent and landed her a contract.

    Interesting that you would quote TS Eliot whose *The Wasteland* was printed by Virginia and Leonard Woolf’s The Hogarth Press in 1923, which at the time was not a traditional publishing house.


  3. I have just self-published my new book, A Second Chance, Surviving Sudden Cardiac Death. The book is a dramatic look at my rescue from sudden cardiac death at 30,000 on an airplane and subsequent events. The book further looks at 35 other survivor stores and explores the after death experience. I self Published through Mill City Press. I started out with a little trepidation but after having gone through the entire process, I can now fully recommend Mill City Press as a great way for a first time author to get in print. So far the reviews of my book have been very flattering and I expect excellent distribution.


  4. As an inspiring romance writer and diehard Harlequin reader, I heard it through the publishing grapevine that Harlequin’s imprint, DellArte Press’s first release is a women’s fiction and it received rave reviews. I can’t wait to read it to see if it lives up to the hype.


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