AHA · Authors Helping Authors · Publishing

“What’s Wrong With Publishing: Reagan’s Daughter, Patti Davis on Why She Self-Published” – by Mercy Pilkington

pattidavisI truly love my job. It’s a great time to be in publishing, but I also get to meet some really cool people and then totally name drop about it on the internet. So I was on the phone the other day with Patti Davis, daughter of former President Ronald Reagan. (Did you like how I did that? I just totally stuck that in there like I’m a somebody but I’m so cool that I DON’T have to act amazed). She’s actually a published author of eight traditionally released books, and now, a self-published novel.


I was supposed to be interviewing her about her self-publishing journey, but I got completely blown off course because of her REASON for self-publishing.

“I couldn’t get my fiction published,” she explained very blatantly.

Wow. The President’s daughter, the woman with eight books under her belt including a revealing autobiography and a raw, heartfelt look at the lengthy process of losing her father to Alzheimer’s, couldn’t get a book deal? What’s going on?

“I had someone tell me, ‘If it weren’t you, I could sell this book in a minute.'” So isn’t this where a pseudonym would come in handy? Heck, call me John Doe, just get my book published! Right? Wrong.

“Someone said that to me. An agent suggested I could use a pseudonym. And I thought, ‘You know what? I’ve changed my name once in my life. I changed my name when I was eighteen years old. I took my mother’s maiden name because I was the kid of a famous father. I just wanted my own identity and a name that was mine, for better or for worse. I did one name change. I’m not going to let people’s opinions and narrow-mindedness change who I am. I wasn’t trying to hide who I was when I did it, I just wanted my own identity.”

Despite being well-known for her non-fiction, Davis forged ahead with her fiction work and self-published her first title, Till Human Voices Wake Us, last week. It has been met with great praise, something that only confirms Davis’ beliefs about book publishing.

“What it really boils down to is that authors aren’t treated very well by the publishing industry. You beg an agent to take you on and then you beg a publisher to put your work out into the world. I really think that, if you’ve written a book, you have the right to put it out there and it will succeed or fail on its own merit. For an entire industry to say, ‘You put yourself in a box, honey, and you have to stay there,’ is ridiculous. I have other stories to tell.”

Patti Davis’ most recent title, Till Human Voices Wake Us, is her first self-published novel. It is available now from Amazon.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Mercy Pilkington is the CEO of Author Options, a full-service solutions provider for authors and publishers. Her sense of humor leans a bit to the sarcastic side, hence her overuse of the word crap. She is looking for romance titles that do not involved chiseled men with giant penises, and no more vampires unless there is something stunningly different about them that doesn’t involve sparkling. www.authoroptions.com


One thought on ““What’s Wrong With Publishing: Reagan’s Daughter, Patti Davis on Why She Self-Published” – by Mercy Pilkington

  1. An interesting twist – not getting published because of your name. And you are right about agents looking down on authors, the same way publishing houses do. Establishment of self-publishing as a legitimate avenue is gaining respectability, but like with all things, it is finding the jewel among the stone pebbles.


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