Tuesday 5 June 2007

To Self Publish?

Why isn't self-publishing a highly regarded alternative for would-be authors? I think it should be, especially in these days of money over art.
Of course you can get a lot of crap published as a book, badly written or badly plotted, but mainstream publishing puts out crap, too. The DaVinci Code springs to my mind as a good example. So I say the argument of self-publishing as a haven for hacks is full of holes.
In fact I say self-publishing may be the only way some writers can get published, and that is a loss for readers who won't give self published books a try.
I think self-publishing should get some respect.

1 comment:

Kyle Stich said...

Hi A.F.,
I agree that Self-publishing is a smart move for any author, and that it should deserve more respect.

Foremost, a self-published author recognizes that unless they're one of the top 100 books picked up by some big publishing house with a huge marketing budget attached to their contract, they will have to do almost all their own selling/marketing.

That's the sad truth of getting published by a publishing house; the author is expected to market their book, while the publisher keeps the majority of the profits. And for what? Laying out your book, changing your words, covering the cost of printing a few 1000 copies?

What's even more sad is that many of the smaller publishers are convincing their authors to buy enough copies of their own book (at cost) to cover the cost of initial printing.

The best thing about self-publishing is that the author not only retains full control of their book, but they also retain (usually) full profits and don't have to share their revenue with any slack publisher.

But, back to the question: Why does self-publishing get such a bad rap?

Sure, a lot of people can produce sheer trash, and that adds to the poor reputation. But, I don't think it's really about self-publishing having a bad rap. It's more about validation.

If Random House or Penguin pick up an author's book, it is seen as the ultimate validation of one's work. It creates the sense that the experts have chosen your book out of thousands, possibly tens of thousands, of submitted manuscripts and found it worthy.

There is no such validation of a self-published work... until the work becomes a best-seller with no help from big-time publishers (ex. Eragon by Christopher Paolini).

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