Oh Noes, Snooki is Killing Publishing!!!

There’s a reliable pattern whenever one of the big publishers signs a deal for a celebrity book. When Simon & Schuster gave Snooki a contract, for example, numerous authors stood up to proclaim that when Snooki can get a huge advance while real authors struggle to get by, this is PROOF that publishing is broken! It’s OUTRAGEOUS!

Therefore traditional publishing is a misguided/helmed by dinosaurs/deserves to die/etc. Long live the self-published indie revolutionaries!

Yeah, about that … the thing is, publishing is a business, and the publisher’s job is to sell books. I might have zero interest in reading Snooki’s stuff, but you know what? She sells better than I do. Her books have better rankings, and a heck of a lot more reviews than mine. And I’m pretty sure anyone with a full Bookscan account will confirm that her book is moving off the shelf far better than any of mine.

Are my books better than hers? Maybe … like I said, I haven’t read her stuff, so I couldn’t say. Is it unfair that a celebrity will get bigger advances and often sell more books, purely by virtue of being a celebrity? Maybe … but life isn’t always fair, and the fact is, a lot of people do rush out to buy celebrity-written stuff.

So I don’t get the point of attacking or blaming the publisher for the fact that the market is celebrity-hungry. Likewise, trying to use this as proof that indie/self publishing is superior to commercial publishing? I’m having a hard time following the logic there.

Let’s break it down. Commercial publisher releases Snooki’s book, which sells better than my commercially published book. I sigh, because like 99.9% of all authors, I’d love to be selling better.

So say I buy into the idea that self-publishing is the way to go and release my own books from now on. Go me, right?

But you know what? If Snooki self-publishes her book, she’s still going to outsell my self-published title. Heck, I’m willing to bet it will still sell better than almost all of the self-published books by non-celebrities. Because it’s not about the publisher; it’s about the market and readers’ hunger for all things celebrititiuos.

So can we please call a moratorium on using celebrity book deals to “prove” the superiority of indie publishing over traditional?

This has been your cranky midweek blog post. Thanks for reading, and enjoy the rest of the week!