Sunday, October 11, 2009

Self-publishing and Pipe-Dreaming

A while back, I read an article on a literary agent's blog blasting people who self-publish. The thrust of the article and the comments were that self-publishers fall into one of two categories: the egotists who think they are geniuses and are "too good" to have to play by the rules and those who are too lazy to play by the rules. The writer's opinion was that, in either case, self-published writers are inferior writers.

No doubt there are plenty of examples of both of those types in the self-publishing world. I would add for the record that just because a book manages to get published by a standard house doesn't mean it is necessarily any good: I have read some real stinkers over the years!

There are some very good reasons to self-publish. I've written before about the fact that I'm self publishing my earlier work because I couldn't generate any interest in the stories by querying agents, but I'm just not willing to shove them under the bed to molder. Somebody just might enjoy reading these stories I am making them available. As I move forward and write new novels I will continue to submit them for publication. If that fails, I may consider self-publishing some of them. Or not. I like having the option.

Another reason I like the concept of self-publishing, or at least POD publishing, is because it involves no unsold copies of books. I had no idea how quickly publishers recall unsold books and destroy them. Too many trees are sacrificed in that process! It also means that books go out of print way too fast and never have a chance to develop a following. POD solves both problems. It could allow a book that might be ahead of its time to still be available when the market for it catches up.

The entire publishing process is changing. Personally I'd like to see the entire process to be managed like the ABNA competition. I like the idea of having one place to submit queries for various genres for review and evaluation by several people. Those that pass muster could be published online as POD or by a standard house ..... better still: both ways.

Oh, I am such a Dreamer. What are your pipe-dreams?



  1. E-books, especially, seem to be leveling the playing field. As more and more people get a way to read ebooks (and more platforms are coming out), just about anyone can put a book up for download. Just as with print books, there will be good books and not-so-good books. So you still have to put up your best work in order to have longevity.

    Straight From Hel

  2. I think there are many good reasons to self-publish, starting with saving those trees and right up to the fact that traditional publishing houses make you do a lot of your own marketing anyway, so why not just do the publishing as well? It's true that a lot of poor writing gets self-published because no agent or publishing house will take it on, but there are also many high quality writers who choose self-publishing for numerous reasons (such as not wanting to take the corporate route). Good luck with your adventure in self-publishing!

  3. Thanks to both of you for your encouragement. I am still on the fence. I have queries out to agents for a couple of novels, but the more I learn about traditional publishing, the less enamored I am.

    I think that in the next few years things will change dramatically in the publishing world. POD seems to be the wave of the future, in one way or another.

    I hope to ride whatever wave comes along, and go wherever it may take me.