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Vanity, thy name is Writer

Yesterday I was perusing the website of Patrick Rothfuss, the author of the Kingkiller Chronicles. I was noticing how fantastic his website was and I decided to check into who designed it for him. As luck would have it, there was a link at the bottom of his homepage to Authors on the Web. Once I get ready to publish my book, I will be in need of a snazzy website, so I thought I would take a look to see if I could avail myself of their services. So when I got to the form for people to fill out, there was a box for the author to fill in his/her publisher. Underneath that box was this sentence: "Please note we are not accepting inquiries from self-published/vanity authors at this time."

 There may have been a time when "self-published" was exactly the same thing as "vanity publishing." But, in my view, those days are past. While getting published by one of the big six certainly does lend an air of credibility, we have also seen many self-published works go on to do very well (the schlock of 50 Shades of Grey not withstanding) and I find it pretentious and just plain bratty that a webdesign company would so capriciously exclude legitimate writers who happen to not have a friend in the publishing business. Rothfuss himself is an astonishingly good writer who deserves every bit of his success. But the reason he has had such a smooth ride to a three-book deal was because he met a published author at a writer's workshop who then introduced him to his agent. There are many excellent authors (I have the privilege of being in a writer's group with a few) who do not have connections like that. And generally speaking, for writers like us, the only benefit to being with a publishing house is the publicity you get (and that being said, many first-time writers have to do their own publicity anyway). 

So you listen here, Authors on the Web, while my writing is not as good as Patrick Rothfuss', I bet I can find an author you represent that I could wipe the floor with. And I will look forward to creating an awesome website (no doubt with the help of a nice man from India) without your services.

Oh, and everyone really should read the Kingkiller chronicles (In the Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear have been published, the last book of the trilogy is in progress). They are awesome beyond all reason.


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