The University of Chicago Press is going to publish next month A Naked Singularity, a 700-page debut novel that Sergio De La Pava self-published in 2008, using Xlibris.
Interesting news, especially for a novel that appeared four years ago. And it’s news because? Because a “traditional” publisher, in this case a university press, will publish a work by an author who decided to publish his own novel when no one else would.
The news is now that his novel is given credibility for finally having been noticed by the myopic who wouldn’t notice it in manuscript form.
This is another reason self-publishing has become such a powerful tool for many authors. They can attract readers without relying on hidebound publishers who neglect so many worthy works.
It’s time that self-publishing and e-publishing shake off the stigma of desperation that traditional publishers still ascribe to them.
As one comment said, in the GalleyCat piece that announced this deal, “It’s interesting that the only self-publishing stories that make it to this level of media visibility are the ones that result in a traditional publishing deal.”
Just because a university press finally got around to noticing a self-published book doesn’t make that book any better. It makes the university press seem behind the curve. Where were the editors when the author was shopping the book.
This reminds me of a call for comments from an online site (think Huffington Post or something like that you know one of the news-aggregators that offer comments) that requested readers’ recommendations of the best books they’d read during the year. But the writer insisted that these books be ones that were published by traditional publishers and, if I recall correctly, the writer also said the article wouldn’t include “self-published fan fiction vampire-romance-pirate-thriller books.” This was a comment from a writer for an “online” journal, not a “traditional” paper â€“ and obviously the writer didn’t see the irony of such stupid exclusivity in an age when the bulk of information is dispersed and consumed online. That includes books.
As someone who is probably building a platform for his or her work, and thus attracting an audience for your ideas, you don’t need the imprimatur of a university press to validate your ideas. You’ve got the audience for that already. If only traditional publishers realized that.
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