Brown River Queen cover art

Friday, December 2, 2011

I am NOT Self-Published

Blogging while angry is never a good idea.

So I've had my relaxing hot beverage and I've taken the requisite ten deep breaths and I've repeated my Mantra of Peace (Larry Curly, Larry Curly, Larry Moe, Larry Larry) once for every eye-poke in 'Disorder in the Court.'

Hey, you have your rituals, and I have mine.  Anyway.

Karen and I stopped in a certain bookstore during our lunch walk to see if they'd stocked All the Paths of Shadow yet.  After all, they are a bookstore.  All the Paths of Shadow is a book.  I'm a local author, and I've seen this very bookstore promote local authors.

We looked.  They did have a copy of The Markhat Files, another of my titles.  But still no copy of Paths of Shadow.

The helpful young man approached and asked if he could help us find anything.  Karen asked if they had any copies of All the Paths of Shadow.  The helpful young man tapped on his helpful computer for a moment before announcing that he couldn't get All the Paths of Shadow unless the author brought him copies, since that was a self-published title.

A self-published title.  That will certainly come as a bit of a shock to the people at Cool Well Press, who up until this very moment have been blissfully unaware that I own their publishing company.  After all, if I self-publish, and I publish through Cool Well Press, that means I own it, right?

Which means I want all those desk chairs.  And the PCs.  Bwahaha, mine, all mine!

Let me point out a couple of small errors in the helpful young man's statements.

All the Paths of Shadow is NOT a self-published title. Cool Well Press pays its authors.  I've never sent them a dime and they've certainly never asked for one.  Yes, Cool Well Press is a small relatively new press.  That makes it a small relatively new press, not a vanity house.

This was pointed out to the helpful young man, who shrugged and repeated his assertion that, even so, they would only deign to carry my book if I A) brought them free physical copies and B) paid for the shelf space.

In my opinion, that makes this bookstore a tad sleazy.  After all, isn't that the same tactic vanity houses employ? Asking the author to pay?

I won't be giving them any free books. I won't be paying them a cent for their precious shelf space.  They don't want me on their hallowed shelves, fine.  I'm not a huge fan of pretentious douchebags anyway.

But I do object to their toboggan-wearing sales clerks giving out false information.  I wonder how many of my friends and neighbors in this small town have gone into the store, asked for my books, and been told the same thing?

So, local bookstore owners, if you want to dismiss me as a genre hack, be my guest.  Your lack of support won't wreck me.  I won't trouble you again.  Ever.

But do not persist in telling the buying public Frank Tuttle is a vanity house victim.  It's untrue, it's unnecessary, and worst of all it's thoroughly unprofessional.

Larry Curly, Larry Curly, Larry Moe, Larry Larry...


  1. That's a pretty crap thing to tell an author. Why on earth would the store think you could provide free copies? I mean, I suspect the policy is in place because print-on-demand books from everyone were (when I was working in the field about five years ago) generally non-returnable and they've had problems with authors special ordering 15 copies and never picking them up. This was the case with my B&N. However, there's nothing stopping a local store from selling them on commission. Perhaps that's what he was getting at? But paying for shelf space is completely bunk.

    Honestly, I stopped bothering with locals because they a) don't have the genre stuff I like and b) were generally staffed by the hipster or Jaycee equivalent of Cat Piss Men. Not worth my time.

  2. I certainly understand reluctance on the part of bookstore owners to stock anything put out by the likes of PublishAmerica or their ilk. But this kid was adamant, even after being told Cool Well Press and Samhain are real publishers -- he just wanted me to leave, as quickly as possible.

    Fine. But you certainly pegged the staff right -- hipster, down to the insouciant toboggan and two-day beard. If I;d gone in playing hacky-sack I could probably have gotten a hug.

  3. Don't feel badly. I went in and asked my local B&N a few years ago if they would carry a book by Jim Hines (he's published by Daw). They said they would order me a copy, but would NOT put the book on the shelf because it wasn't in their regular order. I asked if I could leave some bookmarks. "No. No one wants those and they just clutter up the counter." How about signed bookplates? "Absolutely not." The store did order me a copy, but they were rude and acted as though I had some sort of disease for daring to ask about a particular author and suggest that others might want to read the book.

    I got the same treatment at a local independent bookstore. They would order me a copy, but acted as though they would hide it in a back room until I came to pick it up.

    I was quite insulted by the way both stores acted and haven't shopped at either since.

    Being self-published is not the problem. Rude booksellers are the problem.