When Frank Bennett, self-published author of Quit School! The Only Lessons You’ll Need to Learn, returned to his childhood home of Bay Shore, Long Island recently for a visit with family, it seemed like the perfect time to arrange for some local book signing and speaking events. There are a small number of bookstores, including a major retail bookseller situated on heavily trafficked mall property. His childhood and the book were set in Bay Shore, and many of the characters in his memoir were well-known local personalities, so there should have been automatic interest.
Unfortunately, his requests for permission to sign books went unanswered by the large retailer, and even the library in his hometown told him they were too busy to let him even sit at a table and sign his own books on a Saturday morning. The town newspaper that he had grown up with refused to review the book, despite the fact that it has a book review section; they have a policy against reviewing self-published books, even ones written by a local person.
This is the scenario that indie authors face every day, but Change.org and ALLi are hoping to do something about it. ALLi, the UK’s Alliance of Independent Authors, started a petition that will hopefully demonstrate to booksellers just how serious self-published authors are about their craft, and ideally will pave the way for more stores to carry self-published works, especially in a time when bookstores are shuttering their doors due to their inability to compete with much larger book shopping opportunities.
“While recognising that there are challenges in incorporating author-publishers, it has become a necessity, if book stores, libraries and literary festivals and events are to be inclusive of writers and properly serve readers,” said ALLi founder Orna Ross in a press release.
There was very little explanation in the press release of how this petition is supposed to bring about the welcome of self-published authors into one of the last holdouts in publishing, but at the very least the campaign stands to raise some much-needed awareness and lend credibility to the cause of authors worldwide.