The Writer’s Union of Canada will vote this month whether to revoke its long-standing policy of not accepting self-published authors. The 1,900-member organization spent the past year gathering feedback from its chapters around the country. The CBC reports there are strong voices on both sides of the issue:
Armin Wiebe, author of Tatsea, The Salvation of Yasch Siemens and The Moonlight Sonata of Beethoven Blatz has taught young writers while practicing his own craft.
“In other areas of the arts it is not considered unseemly to produce your own music recordings, mount productions of your own play, or to rent a gallery space to hang your own art show,” Wiebe said.
“I have no objection to self-published authors joining TWUC as such… My problem with most of the self-published books I have read or tried to read is a serious lack of editing, both substantive and copy editing. Those are services that a good publisher will invest money in, so if you self-publish you should invest in it too.”
Poet and associate publisher at Great Plains Publications Maurice Mierau agrees with Wiebe about the importance of an editor, but he thinks the lack of editorial oversight should bar people wanting to join the writers’ union.
“It seems to me that in a world where almost anyone can publish almost anything, and less people actually read books of any kind, that TWUC should not admit members who have never dealt successfully with a so-called gatekeeper,” Mierau says.
[Thanks to John Mansfield for the story.]