Writer L.J. Sellers Asks The Question Of 2009

Who Is an Author?

The big discussion at Dorothly L this week is about the author rule for conventions, particularly Bouchercon, which had lax rules. Left Coast Crime in Denver this year apparently had a stricter rule, and as a result, some authors were offended and did not attend.

Boiled down, The Rule (as it is known) is that if an author participates financially in the production or editing of his/her own work, then that person is excluded as an author. It seems that the purpose of the rule is to keep self-published authors from wearing a badge that says “author” and from participating on panels. Exceptions are made for authors who have been short-listed for awards or won awards.


I think it’s safe to say that all publishers want their authors to participate financially in the marketing of their novels. Why is it okay for authors to spend thousands of dollars on travel, bookmarks, and mailing free copies to book clubs, but if they spend their own money to hire a graphic designer to produce a better cover than what their publisher has in mind, then suddenly they are not a real author?

Next year, economy willing, eBooks will really begin to break out.

If someone offers his or her eBooks via the (god forbid with its criminal 65-35 split) Kindle Store, never having them before blessed by a dying dinosaur of print, is that person an author?

Is that person an author if those eBooks sales kick the living fucking shit out of your print sales?

Is that person an author if his or her eBook is mentioned all over the Internet while your printed book can’t be found mentioned anywhere on the Internet except the site of your dying dinosaur of print publisher and your own blog — and can’t even be found when looked for on the shelves of Borders and Barnes & Noble?

Oh yes, 2009 is going to be a pivotal year for writers.

Explore posts in the same categories: Books - Other, eBooks, Reference - Writing, Tech - Other, Writers - Living, Writing

2 Comments on “Writer L.J. Sellers Asks The Question Of 2009”

  1. wormwould Says:

    I can’t really comment intelligently about what this all means in terms of markets and sales. I know nothing about any of that.

    If it is true that print is dying–that the physical object known as a book is on its way out as a desirable entity–I find it incredibly sad.

    I’m all for innovation–my published and paid writing history has everything to do with the Internet.

    I’ve read many thouands of pages of text online and will, no doubt, read thousands more. Still, there is something inexplicably marvelous about the book-in-hand experience, it is infinitely superior (to me, anyway) to the reading-a-screen experience.

    Perhaps it’s purely generational. And maybe it’s the greatest thing ever for writers. I guess I hope it is.

    Yet–this peculiar sense of profound loss.

    Talk amongst yourselves.


  2. mikecane Says:

    >>>the reading-a-screen experience.

    See, I bet your definition of a “screen” is what you’re staring at right now.

    You need to experience eInk, like on a Sony Reader. It will redefine “screen” for you.

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