Ms Warner called on the industry to do away with this discrimination, which she feels no longer reflects the book world as it is. The discrimination operates from book reviews (there are many established reviewers who won’t review self-published books), to writers organisations that refuse to accept self-published authors, to competitions – which often contain the sniffily-worded “no self-published books accepted” clause.
Ms Warner says the industry is promoting a singular message – and that they are banded together in an effort to keep out an entire group of authors, based on a singular criteria.
In the Huffington Post article, she adds: “If traditional publishing were holding up a high standard with every book published, I might tone down my firm accusations of wrongdoing here, but instead they’re publishing so many books whose literary merit is questionable at best.”
One such example of discrimination appeared in the Comely Bank Publishing in-box recently – a news alert for self-publishing which had selected an item about an American competition, the Mark Twain American Voice in Literature Award, complete with its $25,000 first prize. “No self-publishing submissions will be accepted this year.”
Granted, it is doubtless that the judges will need to wade their way through a lot of literature before they select a winner. Deciding against self-published books is an easy, if somewhat lazy way to cut down your reading.
For their sakes, though, let us hope that future competitions embrace the self-published author and make no move to distinguish between him or her, or that person who landed an agent and a publishing house deal. The literary world will surely be a better place for it.
To even up the odds, we’re ending this piece by highlighting the Guardian’s monthly self-publishing awards. The Guardian embarked on the awards having decided that self-publishing was too big to ignore.
The aim of the awards is to find brilliant self-published books and “bring these gems to the forefront”. Tom Chalmers, managing director of Legend Times, The Guardian’s partner in the awards, said: "People in the publishing industry and literary awards in general are often too quick to disregard the work of self-published authors, missing the wealth of creativity and innovative writing there is out there."