Friday, January 4, 2013

The new publishing business model: Agents preying on self-published authors

Prepare for a rant.

As I sit here drinking coffee, catching up with my new twitter followers, and reading emails, my morning newsletter from Digital Book World came in.  There's the usual chatter on the publishing industry about ebook and ereader sales activity during the holidays, gains and losses and all that crap.  What caught my eye was an article about publishing agents,
Agents Unwilling to Adapt Won't Last.

I thought that looked pretty interesting, so I read the article.  I haven't read anything in the past few months that made me so instantly furious, soooo fuming pissed off MAD.  I had to sit down and write this blog post.

The article is an interview with Jane Dystel of Dystel and Goderich Literary Management.  Jane starts off with her credentials.  She represented Obama when he wrote "Dreams from my father", before he was President.  That's some serious Klout goin' on there.  I'll bet she's got one hell of a Klout score.  Despite all that overwhelming Klout, the sheer audacity of her business model is staggering.

She isn't even a publisher, but she helps self-published authors, charging a mere %15 of their sales.  She will help them find editors-on their dime, find cover artists-on their dime, and help them upload their ebooks to all the retailers (a very harrowing experience of about 20 mouse clicks).  What a wonderful service, for only %15 royalty on someone else's hard work.

She goes on to admit she wishes traditionally published authors received more than 25% royalty of net sales, she thinks 50% of net sales is much more fair.  Us authors should get at least 50% of net sales royalties.  How kind and considerate, how very progressive.

I get 70% of GROSS sales on Amazon and between 60-80% of GROSS sales at other retailers.

Jane Dystel admits that the challenge Agents face is to convince self-published authors, "that we can help them do better than they are doing for themselves ... many of these self-published authors are doing phenomenally well."

You're damn straight that's a challenge.

The gist of the entire article is this:  Our Agency skims through the self-published authors to see who's a bestseller and then attempts to convince them that somehow or other, they need us.


If I hit anywhere near a bestseller status with my ebook, that's saying a lot: 
1.  I already know how to write a good book. 
2.  I already have at least one editor or more.
3.  I already know how to hire a cover artist, and help work out the design specifics of the cover I want.
4.  I already know how to hire an ebook conversion formatter, or do the formatting myself. 
5.  I already know how to upload my finished ebook to all the retailers.
6.  I already know how to launch my novel through social media and blogs.
7.  I already know how to make the most of ebook retailer's promotional mechanisms, like free offerings, discounts, giveaways, and coupons. 
8.  I already know how to sell myself as an author brand, and my novels as a part of that brand.

If I hit anywhere near a bestseller listing with any of my ebooks, why the hell would I need an Agent?

Jane Dystel looks a lot like a predator to me.  A predator preying on the dreams and aspirations of self-published authors who still feel the sting of not having "made it" in the realm of traditional publishing.  She looks like an Agent who's scrambling to figure out how to convince people like me that there's any need at all for her antiquated, obsolete business model.

If I hit anywhere near a bestseller list with my ebook, you better have a seven figure offer on the table and a movie deal before you even think about trying to talk me out of my successful self-publishing business model.

I have never written a query letter.  I never will.  Its a waste of time.  Jane Dystel says she has represented JA Konrath and John Locke early in their self-published careers.  Here's JA Konrath's words from a year ago:
"Now, writers are much better served learning how to upload their work to Kindle and write a product description than learning how to write a query letter or do a successful book signing."

As I catch up on a ton of social media connections for the morning, start writing another interview series for erotica authors, and begin editing my next two novels for release in the next two months, I wonder how much Agents can afford to adapt?  How much room is there in today's world of self-publishing for an Agent to survive?  NOT MUCH.

This is a time of great change in the world of publishing.  The power is shifting to the authors, specifically the authors who learn the ins and outs of self-publishing.  I strongly suggest people abandon obsolete business models and embrace that power, take it in full measure and use it to the best of your ability.

Until next time,

Travis Luedke


  1. What some savvy agents are trying to do is set up a publishing arm of their own - one where they use their editorial tastes and publishing expertise to help some of their authors - ones who perhaps have published with a big house, for example, but their book (s) didn't sell very well (and consequently, they've become "box office poison" to their publishers) to find their readership. Don't know how well this will work. Inevitably, some of them will probably do a decent job for those authors who have neither the time or inclination to do the heavy lifting - marketingwise - for themselves. But you're right, Travis. If you're already doing well on your own, there's little reason to start handing over 15% to a Johnny-come-lately partner. On the other hand, if you're a good writer, but not a great self-starter or lack the time and resources to learn the social media and marketing game, it might not be such a bad thing.

    1. There will always be authors who don't feel comfortable wading into the daunting waters of publishing, they need some hand-holding. The sad thing is, Agents and publishers are telling authors to get active in social media, start blogging & tweeting. Is the hand-holding worth 15%? Independent author groups do this hand-holding for FREE or for a $50 annual membership. All the advice and hand-holding you could ever need or want is there to be had for FREE. If you look for it.

      If you can't or won't become actively involved in publishing and promoting, there's not much future for you as an author. Sad but true.

  2. Hey Travis--

    Thanks for your comment on DBW and this post. But I think you misunderstood Dystel's business model. Maybe that was my fault. Here's a more thorough explanation:

    Dystel makes most of her money doing what all other agents do: represent authors who come to her for representation, sell their work to publishers, sell movie rights, etc. For authors whose work she is unable to sell, she offers them the option to help manage their self-publishing for the typical agents' fee. If you're already doing that on your own, there's no reason to work with her agency. If you think you can do that yourself (and many, many people are), there's no reason to work with her agency. And knowing her a little bit at this point, I think she'd say so herself -- directly to the author.

    As for picking up self-published authors, I'm not 100% who approached who, but here's how it worked for a few:

    1. Represented the author for the purpose of selling international publishing and movie rights (something only a very few self-published authors have managed to do alone successfully) -- making them money they wouldn't have been able to get otherwise and taking the typical 15%.

    2. IF a publisher approaches her and is interested in buying the U.S. publishing rights to a book, she asks the author if they're interested. If they are, and they can work out a deal, they do.

    In the case of Tracey Garvis Graves, this meant that Dystel literally made her close to or above $1 million. Dystel sold rights to her book, including movie rights and Penguin approached her asking to buy the publishing rights. Garvis Graves sold those rights in a seven-figure deal. Now, on her future sales, she'll get a much lower percentage of royalties and have to give Dystel a cut, but what she gets in return is: a huge up-front paycheck (I'd personally much rather have $1 million today than the chance at $2 million in two years); her book in print, therefore greatly widening her audience and potentially a lot more money; the editorial, marketing, legal, etc. support of a large publisher (which you might think isn't worth much, but some people do, probably including Garvis Graves).

    I would wager that none of this would have been possible without Dystel.

    I have no dog in this fight, but here are a few things I believe:

    -- Any author that has a choice in the way they bring their work to the world should be able to make up their own mind on how to do it. Not every author wants to do all the work of self-publishing -- and it's a lot of work to do well. Many authors want to see their work in major bookstores nationwide. We actually just did a survey of 5,000 authors that we'll be presenting at Digital Book World in two weeks that will reveal what authors (aspiring, self-published, traditionally published and those who have done both) really think.

    -- From what I know of her and her business, I would not label Dystel a "predator" in any way. The literary agency business model is certainly challenged by the new digital publishing reality but that doesn't mean that it no longer provides value to some people. In the case of Garvis Graves, it certainly provided a ton of value.

    Anyway, thanks so much for your note and please keep reading and writing!

    1. I don't have experience working with Agents, and I'm not really excited about the idea. I am such a control freak about the whole process of writing, editing, cover art, and publishing, that I would probably find it difficult to work with either an Agent or a publisher.

      That being said, if somebody started talking seven figures and a movie deal, I would definitely listen.

      The thing I am looking at here is the long term big picture. As Mark Coker points out repeatedly in his posts on Smashwords blog, the Agent/publisher traditional business model is potentially harmful to an author's career. As Indies we have the ability to move in a very nimble manner: changes to cover art, revised editions, new blurbs, FREE promos, coupons, discounted or FREE offers to libraries.

      Publishers, large or small, are not as flexible or quick moving. They will not put a novel free for several months to allow a rapid explosion of readership for the intro to a series of novels. They can't afford to do steep discounts for any real length of time. In short, publisher's immediate financial interests are at cross purposes to an author's need to be competitive and expand readership rapidly. Agents fit into this bracket much the same.

      I understand there will always be publishers and Agents feeding authors to those publishers, but their share of the market is going to be drastically reduced over the next few years. They have no place in the world of Indie publishing. There's simply no room or necessity for a middle man (Agent/Publisher) once an author learns their way around Indie publishing.

    2. If as an author your goal is to have your book up on Amazon, control the cover, marketing, editorial, etc., then it makes 100% sense to only consider self-publishing options.

      But if you want to see your book on bookshelves at Barnes & Noble, or sold in another country, or as a movie -- then you might want to consider hooking up with an agent.

      As Dystel said, an agent can represent you for just these type of things and not for your ebook rights. For a popular indie author who has done it all themselves and built a following, this can be an attractive proposition.

      Imagine: Doing it myself, I am unable to sell movie rights to my book = $0. Having an agent sell the movie rights for $100,000 = $85,000 for me. That sounds like a good deal. What objection could you possibly have to that?

      The publishing world isn't black and white and neither are the decisions authors have to make. The very best ones will have tons of options open to them, and the path to their own career and writing success isn't predetermined. Some of them will be better off doing everything themselves but many will be better off working with agents, publishers and other kinds of partners.

      I'd wager, in fact, that you yourself would benefit financially from working with an agent who could help bring your work to a wider audience. Why not make some calls? What's the worst that could happen?

    3. Jeremy makes a solid point. And that is really the value an Agent brings to the table, lots and lots of money to sell rights for film and foreign publication.

      If your relying on an Agent to get your book into Barnes and Noble brick and mortar stores, your back to living in the pipe dream that was the "traditional" publishing business model.

      As self-publishers with some experience and a small investment in companies like Lightning Source, our novels can reach brick and mortar stores, if that is still considered the final goal.

      In the global marketplace, local brick and mortar stores are not really the goal anymore. Driving internet based sales is where a self-publisher gets the best bang for the buck and the most value out of time and effort in promotions.

      While writers are sending out query letters and rewriting their novels to suit some agent's idea of what's sellable, self-publishers are already gaining a readership and creating a platform to launch their next new release.

      Don't waste valuable time gaining a foothold in the global market. Publish your best work now. Worry about an Agent after you have built a solid reputation and a readership. That changes the negotiation significantly. They will be bringing you the deals you really want instead of you begging for scrapings and trying to float to the top of their slush pile.


  3. Very interesting article Travis, thanks for sharing

  4. I was really considering looking for an agent. However, because of articles like this, I'm ever more leaning towards just going indie. Why wait another year or two to get my book out in the hands of an audience.

    Thanks for a great post.

  5. Some valid points here in support of self publishing, particularly in regard to the nimbleness factor. But so many proponents of self publishing make a huge mistake: they assume that all a lit agent does is place a book with a trad publisher, and that all a trad publisher does is print and market the book. From there, it is easy to make the assumption that a business model that eliminates these two parties is a superior one.

    Only occasionally is this the case. The demonstrable fact is that trad pubbed books, with few exceptions, are far better, in conception, structure, appearance, audience targeting, and so on, than self-pubbed books. This is because agents and publishers, with few exceptions, know a lot about what makes a better book. The best agents work intensively with authors to make their books stronger. In many cases, they can keep an otherwise good writer from heading down an entirely wrong track. These professionals can help them figure out what their book ought to be.

    Example: My own agent came across a writer (an experienced, published journalist) who was working on a how-to book. My agent pointed out that potential readers could find most of the how-to info on the web for free or in books by actual experts. The likelihood of producing a successful how-to book was slim to none. But my agent asked the writer about the genesis of her book idea, and in that discussion she spied an opportunity for a memoir.

    My agent helped her put together a book proposal. Very quickly, she sold film and book rights in a 6-figure preempt. After that, she helped the writer negotiate a confusing landscape, from structuring her story to dealing with legal issues.

    Now, a writer theoretically can get these services by going self-pub route and hiring a slate of independent editors, lawyers, marketers, etc., to provide these same services for a flat fee instead of an eventual, perpetual 15% fee. But if you think this is an equal or better model, you are ignoring the fact that a proper agent takes NO money from an author, ever. She invests her time in a project with no guarantee of payment because she believes in its eventual worth. An for-hire copy editor, self-publishing consultant, etc. has no such motivations.

    All of which does call into question any "agents" who take money up front from writers for assisting them in getting self-pubbed. If an agent does this, she is NOT being an agent; she's being a consultant--and is introducing some ethical questions into the process. But I don't think Ms. Dystel (no, she's not my agent) is doing this, is she? If I read correctly, she's risking her time for the possibility of a payoff.

    So back to my original point: If all you want to do is get a book published, self-publishing is fine. But I think the bottom line for most writers is not to get published, but to create a book that people actually want to buy and read. Such is not the case for the vast majority of self-pubbed books (e or print format), which sell a few dozen to a few hundred copies. This is simply because they aren't very good; it isn't because of marketing or distribution problems. And the main reason they aren't very good, assuming their authors otherwise have the necessary talents, is that knowledgeable professionals who know some things about what makes a book work weren't invited to take a risk on the project's eventual success.

    There are exceptions. A tiny, tiny percentage of self-pubbed books are decent. A tiny, tiny, percentage sell in bigger numbers. But this is what they are--exceptions.

    1. First: There are many self-published novels that are decent, some even excellent. By percentage, that may well be a small ratio, but it’s not a small number. Of course, when you have an agent, publisher, editors, and marketing personnel involved in the creation of a novel, the odds it will turn out decent are higher. Common sense.

      The amazing part of the equation is this: There are actually many self-published novels just as good as anything a publishing company has produced. And they were accomplished with a much smaller team of people. Self-publishers have beta readers, they have other writer friends who give them feedback, they get editing suggestions from other self-published authors. It’s not a lonely venture by any means. Often this help is free, or in trade for the same help given on other writer's novels.

      Second: Just because a self-published author has competent help and writes a decent novel, doesn't mean it will sell (right away). They have to learn the ins & outs of marketing, social media, blogs, and other promotional mechanisms. Sales and discovery are an uphill battle until the author builds a readership, which takes some time. Often it’s after having released several novels in the arena of self-publishing that an author starts to really sell. It is rare indeed that a single self-published novel, an author's first novel, will take off on sales, and definitely not overnight.

      Third: whole online communities of self-pub authors are forming to support each other as we speak. They are every bit as helpful as an agent/publisher combo in learning what makes a good novel and how to reach a certain genre. Are they good for negotiating six-seven figure deals with publishers and Hollywood? Of course not. And I would never trust an agent or publisher to be my sole source of advice on such a deal. I would ALWAYS hire an attorney for a contract of that magnitude.

      I think that what you refer to as "exceptions", self-pub novels that are decent, are becoming far more readily available as the culture and environment of self-publishing is farther and farther removed from the world of traditional publishing. Traditional publishing cannot seem to find anything positive in relation to self-pubbing, as is thoroughly evident in the tone of your response here. Your words betray which side of the fence you stand on. A fence erected by your animosity towards the threat you mistakenly perceive self-publishing to be.

      You don't have a single compliment or positive note to say about self-publishing, the authors, or their work. How do you expect anyone who is actually self-publishing to listen to you?

      Here's another quote from JA Konrath:

      "Partnering with your publisher? Why would you do that, when they offer so little? 17.5% ebook royalties with them, vs. 70% on your own."

      YES it’s about getting published. YES it’s about putting out the best work you can possibly write. YES it’s about trying to distribute and promote that work. But when you take into account the fact we have all our lives to allow our works to sit on the digital shelves, and create new works, and have our backlist suddenly discovered by new readers every hour of every day as we release new future works, it is much more than just "selling books", it is A NEW WAY OF LIFE FOR AUTHORS. It is a culture of writers and readers collaborating together on Goodreads, Shelfari, Twitter, Facebook, Independent Author's Network, Liboo, Wattpad, and hundreds upon hundreds of review blogs and fan blogs and genre blogs and free ebook blogs.

      This new culture has very little room for agents and publishers. This new culture is day by day losing its desire to seek out those traditional paths. The flow of authors following those traditional paths is drying up. This new culture has stopped listening to people with nothing but negative attitudes and views about self-publishing.

  6. I agree with the majority of what you have said, Travis. I've been aware of people like Dystel for a long time. With the direction the world of publishing has taken, with the successes of many Indie writers and the preference of a majority of Indie writers to move away from the traditional publishing routes, then the people in that industry have been forced to adapt or risk being left behind. That said, if I was able to find someone more successful than I am myself at marketing my books, I'd gladly part with 15% if it helped me get where I want to be.

  7. Mr. Frederick, I think you perfectly revealed the bias against Indies.

    And Travis answered you perfectly:

    "Traditional publishing cannot seem to find anything positive in relation to self-pubbing, as is thoroughly evident in the tone of your response here. Your words betray which side of the fence you stand on. A fence erected by your animosity towards the threat you mistakenly perceive self-publishing to be."

    (Loved the rant, Travis.)

  8. Precisely why I will not go with a traditional author. Why pay them 15% when I have already done the legwork. They come to me AFTER I am established,claiming to help me get to the next level? Bullshit.

  9. Hey Travis,

    Great post: you've certainly stirred things up a bit, good for you. I appreciate Matthew Frederick's gallant effort to respond, but I'm with you, mate. Here's my take on this:

    Before Amazon ever existed, I had an agent who managed to get 3 of my full-length novels published, with 2 different publishers. So what did this agent do for me?

    Well, the positives are: he read my manuscripts, suggested some positive revisions (to one of the books) and found 2 mainstream publishers, both of whom offered me 2-book deals. So far, so great.

    What did the publishers do? Publish the books, obviously. And paid me some money: enough, after the agent had taken his 15% cut, and the taxman a lot more, to buy a good second-hand car, probably. So, not a lot, but not nothing either.

    What did the agent and publishers not do? Ah, well here the list is a little longer, unfortunately. They did NOT:

    a. do anything at all, so far as I am aware, to publicize the books, apart from adding them to their catalogue and distributing review copies
    b. arrange or even suggest any book tours, interviews or signings for me
    c. tell me - even on an annual basis - how many books I actually sold (I still have no idea)
    d. Ask my opinion about the covers (I hated them all)
    e. edit the books carefully (the agent did a little of this but neither publisher did anything except copy editing) One editor even sent me her editorial suggestions for a 150,000 word book on a picture postcard (true!)
    f. make me feel welcome or involved in the business of er ... publishing my own books? (I felt like a nuisance whenever I plucked up courage to phone)
    g. keep the backlist in print

    Add to this the following:
    h. my agent insisted that he would only deal with my legal thrillers if I used a female pseudonym. This made it impossible for me to approach the local newspaper (without dressing up in drag!)
    i. the second publisher welched on the 2-book deal even after I had already delivered the second book. (This book has recently won an award on the internet)

    Not an encouraging list really, is it? And I'm sure there are many others with similar tales to tell. But now we have ebooks, and everything has changed. Yes, Matthew, I agree that many self-published books are poor, but so are quite a lot of traditionally published books too. And internet groups like Digital Book Today and Awesome Indies are springing up to give more publicity to indie books which are every bit as good as thos published traditionally. As you say, Travis, we independent authors can now hire our own experts to edit manuscripts, produce covers, and instantly fix any errors which turn up later. Amazon allows us to monitor our book sales daily, even hourly if we wish. Publicity takes an enormous amount of time and energy, but at least we know that it's being done, which was never the case before. And we get a 70% royalty.

    Given all that, what could a literary agent and/or traditional publisher offer an indie author? I suggest there are only two things:
    1. A very large amount of money, at least six figures for each book, and
    2. Very large worldwide sales, guaranteed.
    That might be worth 15% of an author's royalties, perhaps. But for anything less, forget it. After all, we wrote the books, not them. And we've done all the work already.

    1. Tim makes a wonderful and eloquent set of points, spoken from a position of experience. Though I have never danced the dance with Agents and publishers, Tim's experiences are precisely the reason I chose not to.

      Far too many authors have been failed by their publishers, had their backlists ignored, given cursory editing support, and faced a laundry list of other nasty issues. Tim's words prove we are both on the right track, making the right decision, and actually getting somewhere in the global marketplace.

      The interesting part of Tim's experience thus far is that he's learning to build a platform and use all the publisher's marketing tools. Each subsequent new release and the marketing buzz will open up that backlist and expand his readership. I predict Tim Vicary will do quite well in this new culture of self-publishing.


    2. With apologies in advance for long-windedness: The point of my earlier comments was not to argue against self-publishing, although there is some obvious eagerness here to construe them as such. My point was to counter the misunderstanding that agents and publishers add little to no value to book projects, and ultimately are obstacles to writers’ success and profitability.

      Agents and publishers reject works every day that are worthy of publication. An agent can get 10,000 queries a year but sign only 10 clients. That in itself suggests a numbers game. But the vast majority of rejected queries—-I have seen hundreds—-are somewhere between awful and middling. A few are good but not good enough, and a tiny fraction hit all the marks. But even among these, an agent has to do some winnowing, which might be based on anything from an awareness of similar books already scheduled for release to whether the writer seems to have an overlarge ego.

      Such factors indicate that the trad publishing model prevents some legitimate written works from seeing the light of day. Enter self-publishing, which allows good writers who once would have gone unpublished to get their work into the public realm. That’s great. I value freedom of expression, the free exchange of ideas. But I feel pretty sure that the percentage of successful self-pubbed authors will remain very small.

      The reason is this: in any publishing model, readers need help figuring out which books to read, because no one has time to sift through the millions of books published each year. We depend on external filters narrow the field. In trad publishing, the filters are both pre-pub (agents, publishers) and post-pub (reviewers, friends, etc.). In self-publishing, the filters are all post-pub. So every worthy work, along with every unworthy work, can be self-published. Which means that self-pubbed authors face the same old problem of distinguishing themselves in the slush pile; it just happens to be a post-pub slush pile.

      I think most self-pubbed authors will remain as dependent, if not more dependent, on reviewers as trad-pubbed authors. Of course, reviewing is far more democratic than it used to be; we no longer have to rely on the NY Times. So perhaps the self-pub landscape is one of more books and more people reviewing them. This also is a good thing in many ways. But it might just be the same old problem rearranged: in trad publishing, agents and publishers ARE “reviewers”; they simply do their reviewing at the front of the process.

      Again, to end with my central point: Agents and publishers know a lot about how to make a book better, more than the vast majority of people you will encounter in local writers’ groups or in peer forums on the web. They don't know everything; there are some ignorant and narrow and lazy ones out there. I’m just trying to counter the prevalent notion that greedy, unimaginative agents or publishers stand in the way of the success of most writers. The blank truth is that most unpubbed writers need to get better at they do. Sorry if that sounds arrogant; I’m just trying to be realistic. I have several successful trad-pubbed books, but at least one unpublished one that I’ve been working on for 20+ years. I don’t blame an unimaginative industry for that; I’m simply not (yet) a good enough writer to pull it off. I could self-publish it, but I’d rather have it trad-pubbed because that will mean that some people who know a lot about books found it worthy enough to pull the trigger on it.

    3. Okay Matthew, we'll go for round two:

      I think its safe to say we can agree to disagree on most points. Its apparent you have an opinion of self-pubbing that clearly puts it into the category of "vanity publishing". I don't share that perspective. Self-pubbing, as I have said before, is a new way of life for writers. We have a wide yawning chasm between us in our views of this subject.

      You feel you need a publisher's validation of your work. That's cool. You feel like running the gauntlet and taking your chances at the crapshoot to publish your 20+ years worth of hard work. That's cool too.

      I don't.

      No amount of back and forth will ever bridge the chasm between our viewpoints. I'll continue to publish and gain readership and push my little snowball ever larger day by day. I'll continue to make a life out of what you don't even believe is possible.


    4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    5. Sorry Matthew, I don't play nice with personal attacks in a public format where I control the "delete" button.


  10. I merely critiqued your work, Travis. Objectively, there are numerous errors in it. It's very disingenuous of you to delete my comments on it and suggest to others reading this discussion that I made a personal attack on you. "Reading Granny" on Amazon already lectured you on this. Creative, talented people deal with criticism straight on. I'm sorry you are not willing to do so, but I wish you well.

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. I take criticism fairly well. And good ole "Reading Granny" had a good point, and I agreed with her on that point.

    If you'd like to get your grammar Nazi jack boots stomping all over my novel, go right ahead. It is FREE after all. But usually that kind of critique is one-on-one or between a few people, a small intimate group who work together, and not in a public format, for the purpose of degradation.

    No one reading these comments on this blog is disillusioned into thinking you have one iota of respect for me or any other self-published author. Attacking my work with vitriol isn't a constructive critique.

    I don't have any 1 or 2 star haters on Amazon as of yet, but I suspect I'm about to. :)

  13. You say you take criticism well, but your censoring of my comments demonstrates otherwise. You participate in critical discussion to the extent you can control it. You agreed with Granny, so you let her remarks stand. You disagreed with me, so you censored my remarks. I am left wondering how you have missed the irony that you view self-publishing as a vehicle for voices that are marginalized by traditional publishers, yet you yourself censor voices that disagree with you. In short, you act with the same narrowness you despise in traditional publishers.

    Your suspicion that I am going to post a negative review of your book on Amazon is misplaced. I sought here an open discussion, which you denied. So such furtiveness would seem far more likely to represent your modus operandi than mine.

    Despite where the conversation now lies, I really do wish you well. I really do hope you someday see the difference between the quality of your current writing and truly informed literary endeavor. (The problem is bigger than mere grammar.) I will not be checking your blog--I stumbled upon it purely by accident--but I will always be willing to have an open conversation with you should you choose to reopen it.

    Matthew Frederick