I applaud the National Book Critics for considering a self-published novel

First, this post at BookSlut, a books blog, which points to this post, over at Self Publishing News. I was unfamiliar with the latter, but its author discusses, at length, whether self-published books will ever be recognized for their quality, etc., thesis roughly being: “But an indie or self published book will never get one of the major book awards as things presently stand, simply because the major book awards are a completely closed shop.”

Sorry to call it a thesis. I’ve been grading all day. We’ve been talking a lot about argumentation. My students would probably note that as a hasty generalization or a logical fallacy.

Back at BookSlut, there’s a tag on that link: (No. -Ed.) I think the Ed in question is Jessa Crispin. Seems to be. Again, hasty generalization.

Of course, my students require support for the claims they make, so here’s mine: in 2006, Dave Eggers’ What is the What was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Fiction Award. The book was published by McSweeney’s, an independent publishing company founded by Eggers, where he is also an editor.

You don’t have to take me at my word he’s self-published. Over here, Sarah Weinman notes the guidelines of the Mystery Writers Association, mainly in the context that a former Edgar winner was disqualified because he owns the company that, in conjunction with another, published his novel. Which means Eggers’ novel would be disqualified there (well. Were it a crime novel. It’s not, of course. But you get my point).

I think self-published authors should stop worrying so damned much about the attention they believe they are entitled to but haven’t yet received and start worrying more about the work they’re producing. Also, the continuous talk about sales, copies, and marketing is tedious at best.


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