Happy April Fool’s Day! Mom and Dad Publishers?

The ubiquitous rejection letter evidently does not exist for children whose parents trade a bag of gold for a self-published book.  In her article for the New York Times – Young Writers Dazzle Publisher (Mom and Dad)  – Elissa Gootman chronicles the literary accomplishments of young teen and pre-teen authors whose parents are happily adding another line to Junior’s list of accomplishments for college entrance committees.

“… a growing number of self-publishing companies whose books can be sold online have inspired writers of all ages to by-pass the traditional gatekeeping system for determining who could call themselves a ‘published author.’   They include hundreds of children and teenagers…{raising} as many questions about parenting as publishing…”

Whatever happened to artistic angst? perseverance? editing?  Are life experiences no longer needed?  One self-published book by a 12-year-old tells the story of a 72-year-old in a fantasy world.

And when did writing become a team sport – or effort? A parent is quoted as proud that through self-publishing, his son “kind of joined a team…this is {his} basketball.”

Who buys these books?  Social media certainly spreads the news, and even “real” publishers expect their new authors to hawk their books to friends and family.  Books can become Christmas presents or “free” to anyone willing to deplete the stack of books in the basement.  But some young authors have an audience and a publisher – Justin Bieber already has 2 memoirs. He’s 18 years old;  imagine the possibilities.

Like the new branding of sunscreen that now must include the words “broad spectrum” to qualify as actually being effective, “published authors” may need to add the words – “not by self ” to their descriptor.