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Writers: Why self-publishing sucks (and what you can do about it)


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A couple of years ago I put together a chapbook of poetry. A few seconds after I handed a copy to a beta-reader he found a mistake. It was a glaring mistake on the first page he turned to. Alas. Embarrassment is an emotion that can run through you, both hot and cold.

Typos, grammatical errors, consistency problems and a host of other plagues suck the credibility and professionalism from your manuscript. At least for me it was a beta-reader and, contrary to first impressions, the rest of the manuscript emerged clean.

Some writers see self-publishing as a shortcut. When writers treat the medium as the quick and easy path to becoming an author, that’s still vanity publishing.

When you approach it seriously and make sure your manuscript has been combed for problems, that’s publishing (nevermind the “self” part.) When you choose to self-publish, publish. Form a company. Be a publisher. Hire editors (yes, I’m aware of the conflict of interest, but if you are, too—yes, I edit—we’re covered.) Get proofreaders lined up.

Take it seriously and you will be taken seriously.

Filed under: authors, ebooks, Editing, Editors, getting it done, grammar, publishing, Rant, self-publishing, writing tips, , , , , , ,

13 Responses

  1. shirleymclain930 says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I published my first self-publish book in November of last year. It was an eye opener for me. I decided from now on I need more than two sets of eyes looking at my manuscript. I paid to have the book edited but I still found erros, and unfortunatly I missed one or two.

    With sefl-publishing, at least with my particular company, you are on your own. There was no help given, everything was on me. That was touph for a first time author, who needed and wanted a little input from someone who knows more than she does.

    • Chazz says:

      I’m glad you mentioned hiring an editor. That investment is a cornerstone for the serious author who is taking the trouble to elevate their work. Self-publishing has been saddled with a lot of baggage by trad publishers who have their own conflicted reasons not to change outdated opinions. (And vanity publishing has damaged the indie rep immensely for a long time.) By investing in the infrastructure of your book you demonstrate self-pubbers are earning the right to be taken more seriously.

  2. eden Baylee says:

    Thanks for your post. I agree with your sentiment of taking writing seriously regardless if you self publish or not.
    I approach writing as a business. After getting multiple rejections from traditional publishers, I decided to self-pub. I paid for the 2 things that were most important to me: editing and distribution. My book is now available for sale, and I’m very proud of the product. At the end of the day, my writing is the most important aspect, and grammatical errors are not negotiable. By going this route, I was able to form a foundation for myself by building a website, blog, and online presence months prior to my book’s release.
    It is a lot of work to wear multiple hats: writer, designer, and publisher, but I am now planning my book launch in a month. It’s an amazing feeling, and I wouldn’t trade a moment of it.

  3. Chazz says:

    Good for you and glad to hear it. Self-pubbing isn’t for everyone, but it is for some and we’re growing beyond the old paradigm.

  4. […] Writers: Why self-publishing sucks (and what you can do about it) (chazzwrites.wordpress.com) […]

  5. […] Writers: Why self-publishing sucks (and what you can do about it) (chazzwrites.wordpress.com) […]

  6. […] Writers: Why self-publishing sucks (and what you can do about it) (chazzwrites.wordpress.com) […]

  7. Great advice. True self-publishing, the quality kind, has been hijacked by the vanity presses. Editing is NOT optional. Neither is good design. See my blog posts below contrasting the typical self-published cover with the “real” covers in bookstores.

    Fortunately, an army of editorial, design, typesetting, and marketing experts stand ready to help authors produce a book as good as any released by a major publisher.

    Michele DeFilippo
    1106 Design
    Your Book. Designed. With Hand-Holding

  8. […] Writers: Why self-publishing sucks (and what you can do about it) (chazzwrites.wordpress.com) […]

  9. […] Writers: Why self-publishing sucks (and what you can do about it) (chazzwrites.wordpress.com) […]

  10. […] Writers: Why self-publishing sucks (and what you can do about it) (chazzwrites.wordpress.com) […]

  11. […] Writers: Why self-publishing sucks (and what you can do about it) (chazzwrites.wordpress.com) […]

  12. […] Writers: Why self-publishing sucks (and what you can do about it) (chazzwrites.wordpress.com) […]

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