C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

Write and publish with love and fury.

Self-publishers and the traditionally published (not versus)

I spotted it again today and frankly, I’m kind of tired of the narrative

that all self-publishers are a bunch of talentless hacks.

I can think of quite a few traditionally published authors who fit that category.

This is not to shit on the traditionally published.

This is simply to suggest that everybody ease up on the “everybody sucks but ___ ” rhetoric and the gatekeeper drama.

There’s room for everybody without getting too emo about it. You might even end up trying both routes.

Discuss.

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Filed under: publishing, self-publishing, Writers, , , , , ,

13 Responses

  1. Gina Penn says:

    Love this.
    Simple.
    Understandable.
    True.

  2. Karen Magill says:

    As a self published author I have heard this argument so many times and I’m sick of it. I don’t care if an author published through Lulu.com or one of the biggies. As long as the story is good then all is well. I’m not even that worried about grammatical errors – I have found them in both types of publishing! There are too many other things in life to get worked up over – why bother with how someone publshed theiir book? I guess it is more of an ego boost (and more bragging rights) if a person gets published by Random House rather then taking a chance and publishing their work themselves.

    • Chazz says:

      Agreed! I was just listening to a podcast called Litopia (I recommend it, good guests.) The snarky host has, in the past, been kind of down on self-publishing. However, his tone changed when his latest guest, a self-published horror author, told him he was making as much per month from his ebooks as he used to get from his whole advance when he was published traditionally. It was fun to hear the host’s aha moment. Too often we talk about industries dying when in fact, they merely change. We can adapt, Borg-like.

      And by the way, about grammatical errors in books: soooo with you. I wouldn’t mind grammarians so much if they didn’t treat each catch as a moral victory. And I say this as an editor. Editorial defences against typos are depleted in all forms of publishing, so naturally there are more mistakes showing up in print. I got some passive aggressive shit last week for not obsessing enough over a post here. I also know that, after I do a full edit on a book, some errors will be introduced as the author crawls through Track Changes. I don’t control how much proofing goes on after my run at the manuscript. There aren’t five or six levels of editing and proofing anymore (as there was when I worked for Harlequin.)

      As for prestige? I’m proud to say I’ll publish my books. I’m more proud of that than getting approval from strangers at Random House. I’ll care more about my book’s success than they ever could. Everyone’s so serious about this stuff, but we should embrace the fun. There’s more fun available than ever.

  3. scribbla says:

    Hahaha… correct. Funny how quickly people forgot about the not so successfully traditionally published. We saw this in the music world, we saw it in photography, we’re seeing it in film… it’ll all work out in the end. The world is not ending and there’s room for everyone, so long as they don’t want the world.

  4. Chazz says:

    Hey! Waitadamnminute! You’re saying I can’t have the world?! Ack. Plan B: North America, Corsica, Australia, Ireland, Britain and Majorca. Can I have that?

    (I’ll give up rural Nova Scotia. I had that already.)

  5. Chazz says:

    Yes. And all the cookies.

  6. Reena Jacobs says:

    I still wouldn’t mind traditionally publishing a work… at least to give it a try. I know if one of my works were picked up by a larger press, it’d be an awesome promo boost for all my works… or so I’d hope. 🙂

    At the same time, I can’t help but gloat a little when a reviewer stars my work higher than a traditionally published work… or do a back flip, a best seller. Stuff like that reminds me writing is just one of the variables to being a success.

    One thing I do notice is reviewers are more likely to comment on the editing of a self-published work than a traditional work. The reviews aren’t necessarily negative either. It might be, “I only found a couple of errors” or “I didn’t find any errors.” I think it’s because readers are sometimes surprised an indie piece can actually be as clean as a traditional work.

  7. Chazz says:

    Thanks, Reena! Yes, come to think of it, you’re right. There is a double standard in evaluations of self-published work. (I was often irritated by the number of errors I found in Writers Digest books. That seemed especially wrong.)

    However, maybe we’re thinking about this all wrong. This morning I read an article about mistakes in books by Derek Haines today which gave me pause. I have a quibble with some of the premise, but he’s got a good point. Find it at: http://www.derekhaines.ch/vandal/2011/09/so-what-did-you-expect-for-99c/

    The counter is that in order for a self-published book to rise above, it has to be better than a traditionally published work. The John Locke corollary is: Nope. Traditionally published authors have to show their work is ten times better to justify their price.

    And once again, my comments devolve into a mini blog post!

    • Reena Jacobs says:

      Derek Haines makes an excellent point. It broke shriveled blackened heart to offer my full length novel at $0.99 considering all the work I put into it. To think I toiled over the book for months… over a year for no pay, and folks didn’t even want to shell out $0.99… and forget $2.99.

      Indie authors aren’t asking much, but I think some readers expect perfection when they’re not willing to pay an asking price which is less than fair to the author to begin with. Some seem to forget the money used from sales is not only necessary to earn back the money already spent, but also to invest in future books.

      I don’t go to people’s place of businesses and demand freebies. Or worse, insult them with comments like, this should have been free, or I’m glad I didn’t pay for this. If it’s free, folks should be happy they even had an opportunity to try it. Someone took time out of their life to offer readers a gift. It may not be to the readers’ liking or meet their personal set of standards, but it was still a gift. It has value.

      Anyway, my wee little heart couldn’t take it any more. If people want a $0.99 work from me, they’re welcome to my short story. I’d rather horde all my works and never publish another title again than to beg for $0.99 ($0.30 royalty) for a work I put months of my heart and soul into. Every time I read about someone complaining about a $0.99, $2.99 work, it makes me want to bump my prices again. It’s gotten to the point I don’t even care if folks buy my books (kinda… cause let’s be serious. sales matter to all authors) as long as I don’t feel like people are taking advantage of me and implying my work is worth less than it is.

      Like Derek said, it doesn’t make sense to invest big money into a product which yields little return. In my opinion, that’s bad business.

      I’ve already made a goal not to spend more money on publishing books than I make in sales. If that means no more full length works, then so be it. Short stories are quick, dirty, and can be edited entirely through a critique group. I can part with one for $0.99 and not feel ripped off. 🙂

  8. arehonda says:

    With self-publishing you don’t make a lot of money (usually) and you won’t get famous (again, usually), and I think that’s why self-publishing gets a bad rap. But who’s to say you will get rich and famous going the traditional route? At least if you self-publish you know you’ll have creative freedom.

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