29 January 2015 - SELF-PUBLISHED AUTHORS BATTLE FOR EQUITY IN AUSTRALIA



‘SELF-PUBLISHED AUTHORS 
BATTLE FOR EQUITY IN AUSTRALIA’

G'day folks,

Well, the battle still continues for independent authors in Australia. You may recall some time back when I mentioned some great news for self-published authors in Australia. On the same day, I also offered some background facts on how independents were being excluded from two major awards in particular; the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards and the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards (Victoria is my home State). Check out these previous posts:

‘Discrimination in Aussie Book Awards’ - 4 September 2014: 


‘Great News – Aussie Book Awards’ – (2) 4 September 2014: 


So, you get the picture. They have excluded independent authors for what I consider to be frivolous reasons. Anyway, the plot thickens. 

As you saw on my second post on 4 September, the organisers of the Victorian Premier’s Awards (The Wheeler Centre) finally decided to allow us to enter the awards in 2014. What did I do? Well, I entered what I thought was a book that would grip the judges and prove to them that we are sensible authors with talent. Yep, I had ten fresh copies printed, paid the entry fee of $75.00 and entered. All sounds positive, eh?  

Wait, there is more ...


Guess what happened when the longlist was announced? NO SELF-PUBLISHED AUTHORS WERE MENTIONED – NOT ONE! I have no idea how many independent authors entered the contest, but I’m sure many of them wrote some great books.

Hold on. There is even more ... 

Then, the Australian Prime Minister’s office announced that its awards were open for 2015.  And, you guessed it. Self-published authors are still NOT eligible to enter. But, they did say this,

“The Prime Minister's Literary Awards have been recognising excellence in Australian literature since 2008. In that time 167 books have been shortlisted and 33 books have won. The Prime Minister's Literary Awards recognise and reward excellence in Australian literature and history. These Awards play an important role in celebrating the outstanding literary talent in Australia and the valuable contribution Australian literature and history makes to the nation's cultural and intellectual life.”

Mm … So magnanimous, yet so hollow. Now, go back and read the bits highlighted in red. Yep, none of those words apply to independent authors. Nope, they only apply to those in that special 'club'.

 What did I do about this? I wrote a brief article on Facebook, and the resulting comments were astounding – hundreds of them! Then, a fellow author on Facebook, organised a petition on Change.org, directed to our illustrious Prime Minister. Should any of you like to support our cause, please sign the petition below:



However, we are finally getting some press, but don’t hold ya breath. An article just appeared in The West Australian, Self-publishers are a hopeful lot, willing to take on the uncertainties of the publishing market and back their own work. But these authors and other industry players have been dismayed in the past week to learn self-published and ebook-only authors again will be excluded from consideration in the national literary awards.”



Clancy’s comment: Wow, all of us are used to battles of some kind or other. However, it is 2015 isn’t it? Please let me know if I am mistaken. Am I living in the dark ages? Besides the inequity of all this, I’m convinced the main reason that these people refuse to acknowledge self-published authors is simple: They are fearful of the competition that independent authors will provide. Yes, it is a cozy club, and we are not permitted to enter. Sadly also, they do not recognise the contribution that self-published authors make to the Australian economy. All authors buy paper, ink, software, hardware, pay editors, printers etc. Yes, they make a sizeable contribution, but are not permitted to compete on a level playing field. 

Yesterday I spoke to the most senior person in charge of the Prime Minister's Literary Awards, and didn't come away feeling joyful. It was a lengthy conversation and I made many points that have been made before. However, that person has asked me to present a good case. My reply was simple, 'What? Again?' Anyway, no big battle was ever won easily. To me, persistence overcomes resistance - eventually.

Not only but also, the biggest losers from all this inequity are the kids, teens, parents, grandparents, teachers and librarians. They can only choose books from those who are in the ‘Club’.

And ... These book awards are not judging the literary talents of ALL Australian authors. No, only the small group of privileged authors. 

What a shameful state of affairs.

Stay tuned, folks. As you know, I was guest speaker on Australia Day (26th of January), and this issue, amongst others, was raised during my speech. 

Stay tuned for further updates, but don't hold ya breath.

Amen, for now.

I'm ...