Friday, August 12, 2011

I'm so vain ...


I believe that I am the only author in the Novel Spaces group who has solely self-published, so I feel that I should put my two-cents into the discussion about self-publishing.

A friend of mine picked up the proof of my soon-to-be released children's book, Trapped in Dunston's Cave, Book 3 of the Caribbean Adventure Series. She read the back and spotted the line that read "Published by CaribbeanReads Publishing".

"You found a publisher," she exclaimed, her voice filled with joy and relief as if I had won the lottery or discovered a cure for cancer.

"No, I am publishing under my own company's name," I replied, struggling to maintain my grip on my pride.

As a self-publisher I get this response all the time. Looks of sympathy cross the faces of would-be well wishers when they discover that my work was not snatched up by a big publishing name. I think that John Locke expressed my frustration well at some point in the tirade which is How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months!

"When I invested my own money to start my insurance agency no one accused me of making a vanity investment. ... When Bill Gates and Paul Allen invested their time and money into developing code for the Altair computer, no one accused them of writing vanity code. But if Bill Gates and Paul Allen invest their own money to write a book, they’re no longer businessmen, they’re vain! ... How absurd is that?"

I agree that self-publishers have to blame much of this attitude on themselves because as was pointed out in some posts earlier this month, many don't do their homework, don't get their books edited professionally, seem not to have heard of a spell-checker. But the truth is that self-publishing is not easy and the market will eventually weed out the careless and the best of the crop will survive if we, the readers, let them.

8 comments:

Drizel said...

not sure if I must laugh or nod....but I agree! I say YAY you are a published writer...:)

Liane Spicer said...

Yes. Absolutely. Sad but true: most readers, writers and reviewers respect the stamp of approval of a traditional house and pity the self-published, the quality of the work notwithstanding. Attitudes are indeed changing, but that change is slowed by the proliferation of sub-standard offerings.

Your Bill Gates illustration is pertinent indeed. Some writers do not see publishing as the business that it is. They say they just want to see their words in print and are even willing to pay for that luxury. That is indeed vanity. However, if you're hoping to sell your work it becomes a business, and business principles should apply. Quality control is one of these principles.

The market will indeed sort out this issue - just as it does for programmers who write bad code.

Charles Gramlich said...

Any time a new way of doing things comes along there are gonna be the "fly by nighters," who give others a bad name. But I know some really fine self-publishers who are turning out great stuff that will definitely appeal to readers, and it's professionally handled as well.

Lynn Emery said...

I've had the "Oh too bad, you haven't sold another book to a publisher" look. :o)

I think to myself, "70%".

Carol Mitchell said...

LOL at Lynn very true, I will have to remember that.

Jewel Amethyst said...

As with everything new, it will take a while and writers who rise above the low expectations to change the perception.

If Jackie Robinson was here today, he'd be pleasantly surprised at the current perception of black players in MLB. Back in his day the prevailing perception was that blacks lacked the ability to make it in the big leagues.

The negative perception of self published authors will eventually change.

G said...

The very first author that I met and made friends with is self-pubbed, with about 8 cozy style mysteries to her credit.

I give her lots of credit for doing what she's doing with her career. I have purchased about 5 of her books, and even though there may be a small typo that would pop up from time to time, overally her books are expertly done and well written.

Carol Mitchell said...

G, your comment brings up another issue. Are we more sensitive to the occasional typo in self-pubbed books than those published by the big houses, because those pesky things can slip through even a carefully edited book.