At last year's London Book Fair, a well-respected publisher confessed to running away from self-published authors at parties. Everyone laughed. After all, the writer who dares go it alone is one of the last acceptable victims of literary snobbery.
British author Rachel Abbott, whose DIY debut, Only the Innocent, is currently riding high in the Amazon Kindle charts, presumably couldn't give a fig about all that. She claims to have turned down a publishing deal "because it didn't feel right". Since her success, she's been besieged by agents, who must be salivating at the thought of a ready-made fanbase. It will be interesting to see if Abbott gives into temptation and follows the example of fellow Kindle star Kerry Wilkinson, a sports journalist from Lancashire who has signed a six-book deal with Macmillan, and US author Amanda Hocking, who made a fortune from her self-published paranormal novels before signing with the same publisher. In an interview in January, Hocking sounded relieved to have at last received some help with the editing process. "It drove me nuts, because I tried really hard to get things right and I just couldn't. It's exhausting."
Just how hard becomes clear a few sentences into Only the Innocent. Abbott's whodunnit about the murder of a man with a fetish for red-haired women is entertaining enough, but it's crying out for a second pair of eyes.
Anthony Horowitz gave a speech last week about whether writers still needed publishers, concluding that they probably still did. "How good are self-published books?" he asked, before rubbishing a paragraph from a self-published novel. Publishers were, he said, "a sort of quality-control".
But does quality-control enter the equation when hovering over "download" on a £1.99 thriller? Abbott says Only the Innocent has been shifting more than 3,000 copies a day on Amazon. Contrast that with the 2,230 a day managed by last week's top-selling paperback, SJ Watson's Before I Go to Sleep. You can understand why the sight of a self-published writer would make a publisher run for the hills: Rachel Abbott and her ilk are the ghosts of publishing future.
You can find the original article at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/mar/04/self-publishing-ebooks-rachel-abbott
Keep in running!