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I remember going to the library at least once every week when I was younger. I would walk out with an armful of books. I participated in every summer reading program, and the librarian knew me by name. I devoured Goosebumps, The Babysitter's Club, and the Sweet Valley Twins before growing too old for them, and moving on to other works of fiction. I stopped going to the library as much when I moved, but the library still shaped me into the book lover that I am today. When I started to take writing seriously, I knew I wanted my books in the library. I would picture myself going to the library for events and book signings. I saw pictures of other authors in their libraries, smiling and holding their books. I pictured myself doing the same, beaming from ear to ear while meeting new readers. I was under the impression that the library would be supportive of indie authors, so I googled my local library and noticed a lack of author events. I thought that was strange, but decided to reach out to the library. I was shocked to find that while some libraries are supportive of self published authors, the one nearest to me is not.
In my letter, I asked about both author events, and how I could get my book on the shelves. I even offered to donate a copy. It didn't take long before I got an email back, telling me that they didn't usually accept self published books, because they tend to be of poor quality. They also said that if I donated a book they would probably sell it in their ‘Friends of the Library’ sale. Most of the books at that sale are sold for ten cents to two dollars. That changed my outlook on donating anything to the library (there’s a small used bookstore around me that I may donate to instead). While I can understand wanting high quality books, I have mixed feelings about this. Self published authors, otherwise known as Indie authors, sometimes work harder than their traditionally published counterparts. We don’t have a team backing us, and we have to work harder to be recognized for our work. We have to beg for every review, and sometimes give away our books for free just to gain readers. People dismiss us more often than they do traditionally published authors. I’ve personally been told that the only reason people self publish is because they aren’t smart enough to traditionally publish. We also have to put out our own money to make our book as professional as possible. Covers and editors aren’t cheap, and neither is growing our readership. We are held to a different standard, which makes it hard to find new readers. There’s also a stereotype that we self publish because we can’t write, or that we just slap some unedited words on a page and throw our books out into the wonderful world of kindle. While there are some people who use self publishing to earn a quick buck, not all of us are like that. Some of us put out quality content. I have dreamed of being a writer since I was in second grade. I used to write my teacher little stories, and I always loved whenever we had any type of writing assignment (including daily journals). I decided to self publish, because I wanted total control over my project, and because a literary agent called me by my character’s name instead of my own. I wanted to set the due dates, pick the cover, and try my hand at marketing. I also wanted to feel the smile break out across my face upon seeing my book in the library, but sadly, that day might not ever come.