Can self-published books gain respect?

"It's rough world out there" for self-published authors, acknowledges Self-published works  get "no respect from publishers and little attention from consumers."

That's why the new site (to be launched in June by public relations professional and author Amy Edelman) aims to offer self-published authors increased visibility. For an annual fee of $149, writers who sign up with can feature their books on the site. They'll set their own retail price and be able to keep 75 percent of any profits.

Readers will come to, the group's website insists, because, "People are naturally drawn to what’s unique and genuine.... They are tired of hearing about the next John Grisham, of taking their cues from traditional publishers who are afraid of what's new, niche and different."

"What Sundance has done for Indie films – making what's outside the mainstream 'cool' – IR will do for Indie books and authors," the site suggests.

Not every offering will be accepted by"We reserve the right to exclude books that don’t meet certain standards of quality," states the website. "All books must be well written and offer something of value to our customers."

Edelman told Publishers Weekly that although she plans to market the site to consumers, she believes that it will also “attract publishers and editors looking for books they missed.”

Those who do come will undoubtedly be looking for titles like "The Shack" a self-published novel that explores the question of God's role in human suffering. The author, William P. Young, is an Oregon man and pastor's son who describes himself as "a very simple guy" who "work[s] as a general manager, janitor and inside sales guy."

Young says he wrote "The Shack" for his six children with no thought of a wider audience. The book is now a global bestseller  – over 6 million copies sold – that will soon be available in 30 languages.

(Chapter & Verse readers are reminded that they can access the 5/26/09 Monitor Books podcast here.)

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