Friday, 23 November 2012

Stigma of the Self-Published Author—Kurt Chambers

This has been a very exciting year for me as at the beginning of the year I published my MG fantasy novel, Truth Teller, as an e-book. It’s the first book I’ve ever published and it has been many years in the making. To heighten my excitement, my story has just been published in paperback also. My first thought was to tell the whole world that I had become a published author. What better way to do that than contact my local newspaper that runs stories on local people’s success stories. I have seen them print articles on local authors before.

I wrote a letter explaining about my exciting news and eagerly waited for a reply. None came. That’s strange, I thought. Maybe I made a mistake and sent it to the wrong person. I spoke to some friends that suggested I wrote a press release. What a great idea! Give them a real story they can use in the newspaper. I set about writing my story on how I grew up in the town, and about my local school and how my English teacher would be proud of me as well as be very surprised. It was, after all, a real life success story in my eyes. This time, I made sure I sent it to the right person. I waited for a reply, more confident. None came.

I am a local. I have lived in this town for forty-five years, worked at the local church as a volunteer working with local children, as well as at the schools. My family lobbied to get a zebra crossing that is now outside the local junior school. I have had three children here and three grandchildren. I consider myself as part of this community. Why weren’t they interested in my story? A local success story?

This wasn’t the end of it. When my book came out in print, my wife was so proud of me, she decided to write to a different local newspaper. They had a large ad saying, Advertise your Celebration Announcements Free of Charge. So she did, adding a picture of me (the one above) posing with my book. The ad was never printed.

Is there some kind of conspiracy against me? Or is there a conspiracy against self-published authors? I know there is a stigma for self-published authors in the publishing industry. I never claim to be right about all things, but the only reason I can possibly come up with is that my local newspapers are publishers and they have an attitude towards self-published authors. Maybe they would have been willing to run my story if I had been published by a mainstream publisher? What other reason would they have to completely ignore me and not even reply to my letters?

Is this a worldwide thing, or just a stuck-up snobby English thing? I would love to hear any other self-published authors’ experiences.


  1. Kurt, That is horrible. When you are on all the best seller lists (and I know you will be) they will come crawling to interview you.

    Newspaper publishers are feeling the same pressure as traditional publishers as the internet replaces them for the younger generations. Maybe they feel you are a threat to them because you didn't go the traditional route.

    Your cyber community is cheering with you and we are all proud of your accomplishment. Don't let the old curmudgeons get you down.


    1. Awwww mate! haha!! You are so very kind :) I didn't let it get me down, don't worry. I really shouldn't blog when I'm in a bad mood LOL or have a bee in my bonnet :D

      You have a very good point about their reasons. I never considered that. Thanks so much for coming and leaving your comments. I love seeing you here, even though I don't blog that often :)

  2. I am so sorry to hear about this snubbing! Especially since I read your book and enjoyed it so much. I am stunned that the local papers weren't thrilled to snatch this story up because you are local and have contributed to the community. With the state of newspapers these days- I would think they would jump at the chance to spotlight local talent and inspire kids to write. Do you have local online papers? We do in the states and they often will spotlight local talent.

    I know a local, self-published author here in CT. He has a blog, too. His name is Gregory Slomba and he wrote The Deliverers Sharky and the Jewel. I know that local papers have written articles on him- and he might be able to tell you how he was able to manage that (Greg is a really nice guy- if you contact him you could let him know I sent you). Maybe he did a book signing first and got the newspaper in that way? I am not sure...

    I do know that you should be very proud of yourself! Your writing is wonderful and it transported me to a faraway land. :) I wish you continued success and hope others hear about Truth Teller and your books to come.

    Be proud and keep shouting out the good news. :)

    1. Thank you so much, Stephanie :) That's a very good point too! You would think they would jump at the chance at anything that encouraged kids to read. After all, everyone raved about how Harry Potter did that.

      I am proud, mate, no worries. Thank you for your kind words :) To be honest, I'm not that worried that they didn't run my story. I was just considering their reasons behind it and thinking out loud. I have some great ideas in progress and currently have two business proposals being considered by two major companies. It's all good :)

  3. Hey, Kurt. So sorry about your experience with the newspaper. When I contacted the papers in my area to announce the release of my first book, I was told I have to buy an add, that they didn't do stories on that. When I questioned why, they said, "You expect to make money from it, don't you?" Well, of course I did in a round about way... They told me, "Then buy an add." :/

    So sad they don't want to support local success. Rock on, babe. You're doing great.

    1. Ahhh! So it's not just a stuck-up English thing! hahaha!!! Thanks for sharing your story with us, Charlene :) It's awesome to see you here! *hug*

      p.s. I wouldn't buy an add from them. I'd hate to think they were making money on me. LOL It's obviously a principle thing *grin*

  4. I know that feeling. But I did get an article in my local rag - which no one saw.
    There is still a stigma against the self-publisher, NOT helped by those who have no ethics and would do anything to sell a book...cheat reviews, ways to get higher ratings together. I know tons of books with 100+ 5* reviews and they are in no way 5* books. I try to keep 'clean' but it's a long road...

    1. Thanks for visiting my blog, Dani :) Yes, there are lots of not-nice people out there, making it harder for the good ones. I'm happy to just not to be like them, come-what-may. Never give up, that's the secret! Good luck!