Refusing to be saved • 10 April 2011 • The SnowBlog

Refusing to be saved

I read an interesting observation about self-publishing by Bruce Sterling the other day on his fun (but scrappy) blog. He was picking up on something that Roxanne Gay said on HTML Giant. We all know that publishers act as gatekeepers and quality filters in the world of books. Having read a few DIYed novels, Roxanna says: "...theres a reason most of those self-published books were not picked up by publishers great or small. There was no misunderstood genius in these novels. These books fell through the proverbial cracks for a reason." But Sterling's response was this: "So gatekeepers are good because they separate the wheat from the chaff, etc. etc. There is a major point missing from this argument: readers dont care. Bad, unpublishable books are finding an audience. I cannot claim to have read many of the books on the Kindle self-published bestseller list, but without a doubt there are many books that some people would find totally inept, but are finding an audience with many honest 5-star reviews." Interesting idea, no? We're protecting readers from dross, and sometimes they don't want us to. I'd say it was tricky to argue that we should do it anyway without ending up sounding patronising.


The SnowBlog is one of the oldest publishing blogs, started in 2003, and it's been through various content management systems over the years. A 2005 techno-blunder meant we lost the early years, but the archives you're reading now go all the way back to 2005.

Many of the older posts in our blog archive suffer from link rot. Apologies if you see missing links and images: let us know if you'd like us to find any in particular.

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