It sounds like a good way to get your work out to customers, but if you peel the layers of stinky onion wrap back enough, you’ll find a rotten center. OK, I may be going off the deep end, but self publishing is treacherous territory. On the one hand, you are doing everything yourself. You’re writing, editing, distributing, publicizing, etc all on your own. This means whatever profits you make from it after you recoup your losses is yours to keep. There have been some really successful self publishers. Amanda Hocking is one example and so is Barry Eisler. But you could argue they got lucky. REALLY FUCKING LUCKY!! The reality is anyone can self publish a book. While on the outset that may seem like a good thing, it’s really not.
It’s difficult enough to distinguish yourself as an author even with a literary agent. Your stuff has to be fresh, new, entertaining, well written, provocative, engaging, and whole bucket load of other adjectives I’m too lazy to type. It’s murder to distinguish yourself as an author when you’re putting all that stuff out yourself without the assistance of a literary agent who believes in you. Also, because anyone can self publish, there are A LOT of really bad, gut wrenchingly horrible, please-shoot-me books out there written by people who are better off landscaping than writing. Make no mistake, there are some books published by major publishing houses that when read are the literary equivalent to taking sand paper to your nut sack ( if you have nut sacks).
Please note, that if one really puts one’s mind to it, one can be a good writer. But the key is practice. The biggest reason why most self published books suck is because the author did not hone his or her craft–yes writing is a craft. I would argue it’s more craft than art. Practice is what makes perfect. Writing one draft is not enough. You could write seven, thirteen, forty-two drafts and it still might not be enough.
Another reason why some people self publish is impatience. Navigating this treacherous (I like that word, treacherous) publishing landscape can be hard. It’s a business. Don’t delude yourself into thinking it’s a nice trip down Candyland Lane. I mean, it’s not a trip to the dentist after he’s run out of novacaine, but it’s no walk in the park (I like cliches). Some folks try to beat that elusive door into the publishing world down their whole lives and get NOWHERE. So they give up and go to self publishing.
Now I don’t want you think that all self published writers are rubbish ( I freaking love that word. Seriously, if someone were to call me rubbish, I’d probably laugh out loud and tell them to say that word again. Rubbish–ha ha!). As I already mentioned, writers have enjoyed success with self publishing. But just because you’ve reached success (money) does not make you a good writer. Look at EL James and that Twilight knock off 50 Shades of Grey. Hell, look at Twilight and that was published by a major publishing house.
As already mentioned, self publishing has its ups and downs, but for me there are way too many downs than ups. So, I’m going to stick to the traditional route, at least for now. If I ever self publish, it’ll have to be once I’ve become more of an established author with visibility and clout. But by then, I probably won’t need to self publish.
But if you want to self publish, then more power to you.
No self published authors were harmed during the writing of this blog entry. Good night.