Monday, September 07, 2009

Backword Books Gets Face Time in Publishers Weekly

Self-Published L.A. Author Launches Literary Collective
By Wendy Werris
Publishers Weekly, 9/3/2009 8:39:00 AM

Baum is convinced that literary self-publishing will eventually achieve the same sales results as those of traditional presses. “The vetting system is out of whack in the publishing industry,” said Baum, who also runs the online Self-Publishing Review. “It’s literary writers who are having a tougher time of it in today’s climate, not just reaching an audience, but getting published in the first place. With Backwords, the hook is the writing itself. That’s our strength.”

Read Full Article Here


Those who have been in the Self-Publishing review game for a while know who Henry Baum is, and may also be familiar with some of the other authors represented by Backword Books. Henry, since the start of his Self-Publishing Review website, has been a rather vocal advocate for Indie authors far and wide, often coming up against opposition that would make many duck and run for cover -- opposition, interestingly enough, that not only comes from Self-Publishing critics but also from within the Indie community itself. Baum's opinion of the self-publishing world is often a hybridized ideal, melding together the anarchy inherent in the Indie world with the affectations of the Traditional Publishing Industry, affectations that some Indies staunchly oppose. So, let's just say, he just has a way of bringing out the best and the worst when it comes to an argument. I suppose the T-shirt offered on the Backword Books site says it all: Fuck 'em if they don't like a gatekeeper. I imagine the implications of that statement don't necessarily sit well with some folks -- Indie Reader comes to mind -- but as we all know, innovation often has casualties. Even still, Mr. Baum's arguments are always well thought out, and his perspective is anything but narrow. I myself have even felt compelled to comment on his site from time to time, which is odd for me, as I tend to be all the about the writing and rarely engage in the "stigma static" that surrounds the term self-publishing.

I have never read Mr. Baum's book, but Chris Gerrib did review North of Sunset here on the peeps a while back. In all honesty, I have not read most of the authors represented by the Backword Books community, and it has nothing to do with the books. My review queue is daunting as it is, and queries take precedence over unsolicited reading material. However, I did review and recommend highly Broken Bulbs by Eddie Wright, so I can safely say that Backword Books has some talented authors, authors who have been reviewed well by other reputable Indie review sites like The LL Book Review and PodBram.

The Peeps wish Mr. Baum and his Backword Books endeavour the best of luck. Congrats on the article, and I know that all serious Indie authors appreciate the advocacy and the voice of reason.

Cheryl Anne Gardner


L.K. Campbell said...

Many of the authors involved in this new venture hang out at and have used Amazon's DTP program to turn self-publishing into a successful venture. Their books have become bestsellers through Amazon Kindle and have received rave reviews from Kindle readers.
I'm sure that a lot of traditionally published authors and self-publishing detractors hate the fact that Amazon has opened this portal of opportunity for "indie" authors. I was ready to give up and throw in the towel until I discovered Kindle. My books have found new life with Kindle readers. I'm selling an average of 54 copies per month, which is something I've never been able to do in any other venue.
So while this new venture will probably be met with the usual amount of scorn from the usual suspects, I wish them well.

Chris said...

I'll reinforce Ms. Campbell's discovery of the Kindle community. Once I finally discovered how to prepare a version for Kindle (use an HTTP file -- save for "Web Page" in Word), all translated well. My two books of short fiction, which had won awards but had lost momentum in their print versions, found new life on Kindle. In fact, "The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea" rose to #20 for Short Story Collections. Kindle users tend to be voracious readers AND many are open to reading authors they have not heard of. It's a good environment for an indie author.

Henry Baum said...

Cheryl, thanks so much for giving Backword some face time. If you haven't seen it, on the same day the PW blog Genreville had an entry criticizing me - so, yeah, I inspire some amount of annoyance, but I love that.

kristentsetsi said...

I'd like to thank you for the write-up, too. Thank you!

As L.K. Campbell said, we do hang out at (I'm new there and am still learning my way around, but I spend a lot of time in the Book Bazaar) and most of our books are on Smashwords, too.

For anyone who's interested, some BW members will be guests Friday, September 11 on Stacey Cochran's "BookChatter," ( airing at 9PM, EST.

Good opportunity to talk about the book & publishing business.

Cheryl Anne Gardner said...

Like I said Henry, you do have a way with the arguments. And no matter what, there will always be someone who will misinterpret what you say, and there are always those who won't care what you say, those who are ever ready with the torches and pitchforks.

You're both welcome, Henry and Kristen.

I should take a lesson about the kindle boards. My work is and has been available on Kindle, but I am so ghoulishly hermetic, it's very difficult and painful for me to interact in sprawling communities like that. I am an awful self-promoter too.

rjkeller said...

Thanks for the great write up, Cheryl. Just have to add another voice in praise of the Kindle Boards. It's actually an easy, rather organic, avenue for marketing, and for finding other talented indie writers.

Eddie said...

Thanks for the shout, Cheryl.

Eddie Wright

Floyd M. Orr said...

Henry, I do know a few things about punk rock and I understand the analogy. It is, indeed, a valid one. Thank you, Cheryl, for the PODBRAM mention, too!