Saturday, April 24, 2010

Self-Publishing OR How to Avoid Misrepresentation

From an article by Joan Bryden of The Canadian Press, regarding bogus reviews that appear on the cover of Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff's latest book:

"It is common practice for movie and book promotions to use snippets of reviews that often bear little resemblance to the original critiques."

It is also common knowledge that book publishers almost always have far more control than authors over a book's title, distribution, promotion, cover design and content, and so on. Even what goes between the covers can be, and often is, heavily influenced by a publisher.

Which makes me glad that no publisher got back to me when I was hunting for one for the WISE book.

We ultimately published the book ourselves.

The reviews that appear on the WISE book's back cover are accurate and unsolicited. Further, I'd sought and obtained written permission from each of the commenters prior to quoting them. It never occurred to me to do otherwise.

Despite our being women in the lowest decile of income and locally-bound; despite our having no academic, promotional or other network to tap into; despite our having only electronic means to promote our book, our book more than beat the odds - and we accomplished the feat ethically.

With self-publishing, the situation described in Bryden's article can't happen unless it's intended by the author. As soon as a publisher becomes involved, authors lose much of the control over what happens to their book. They can - and publishers expect them to - promote it at book signings, online, through networks, and so on, but that's about it, unless it's explicitly placed into the contract that the author will have final say over cover design and content.

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