One of the earliest posts on this blog was about my feelings on self-publishing, which were largely negative. To me, self-publishing was basically a cheap way out that didn't give you any credibility, and I found myself bothered by non-industry people who thought I should take that path because it'd be easier. At the time, my stance was not totally unusual. But in the past couple of years, the market has dramatically shifted and the new truth is that self-publishing is a viable option that can't be ignored.
Nowadays, self-publishing is more commonly referred to as "indie" publishing and is usually done through small self-publishing companies. This is now part of an accepted set of terms: there's traditional publishing, there's indie publishing, and there's hybrid (choosing on a project-by-project basis.) As time has passed, views have become favorable towards the indie brand, and more news and blog posts are in favor of it.
Naturally, with me being as stubborn as I am, I tried really really hard to ignore this. A big reason is because it really does annoy me when people ask why I don't just self-publish. But a few months ago, I went to a little seminar given to my church by Emily Tippets, a sci-fi and Mormon romance writer who works under two pseudonyms. (Check out her sci-fi website here and her romance site here.) Emily is an indie author and has been for a while.
She gave a really intelligent talk about publishing of all kinds, with, of course, a focus on indie publishing. Through her seminar, I gained more respect for the indie publishing set.
What Emily pointed out that made the big difference for me is how e-books have changed the industry. People can publish books for lower costs than they ever have before, and readers can access these books much easier. Both of these have opened the market to more successful indie publishing. Amazon bestseller lists now have a good percentage of indie titles as well as traditional ones every week.
Similarly, as traditional publishing companies turn more of the marketing and PR responsibility over to the authors themselves, that process becomes similar for writers whichever way you do it. There are also now lots of gifted people working to make indie books high-quality and their sales effective--freelance editors, formatters, cover designers, marketers, bloggers.
WriteOnCon confirmed this, with the agents and publishers in attendance speaking respectfully and thoughtfully of indie publishing and how it's changing the market.
Basically, as I understand it, self-publishing began as a "vanity" thing, where authors who didn't wnat to go through the process with traditional publishers made their own way. This also often occurred with writers who were working in genres that weren't as accepted by traditional publishers, i.e. erotica. These kind of books are still a significant percentage of self-publishing, but the world is changing. Authors who want to have greater control of the process and end result, a better percentage of pay, and who have written things that are good but not ideal for the current publishing market can really make a genuine name for themselves through indie publishing today.
So this is my official admission that I now admit indie publishing is legitimate and that, if you think it's best for you, I won't judge. Do be aware, as always, that there are tons of scams out there.
But I also need to say that I still have no intention of trying to self-publish, and I doubt I ever will. So please stop asking me about it or trying to push me into it. Maybe just don't ask writers about that in general? It is, after all, a personal and professional decision that most writers have probably considered already. On the whole, we have a better idea of the industry and of what we want for our individual careers than your average layperson does.
For me, traditional publishing still feels more legitimate. I'm familiar with a lot of the people involved in it now, thanks to social media, and the community that surrounds traditional kid lit really means a lot to me. They're great people! I also prefer to have the kind of support that you get in traditional publishing, from a qualified group of people who probably know more than I do, especially about the business side of writing. I'm okay handing over some control to them and working in more of a team environment. Furthermore, high-quality self-publishing, the kind that you have to seek out if you're serious about your writing career, costs a lot out of pocket. I simply can't afford that. Finally, I really just dream of being published by one of those big companies, and as long as that dream seems viable, I will seek it. Until I see real proof that one of my books is viable in the indie market in a way it can't be traditionally, I am following my original goal.
So that is the current state of mind for me in regards to self-publishing. Hope you enjoyed.
Thanks for reading! Tell me your thoughts on self/indie publishing, and come back next time for a post detailing what my ideal vacation would be. The time after that, I'll be doing a Wordy Wednesday. Please vote on the poll below to help me decide what to do! *Poll closed.*
Images via meganjoelpeterson.com and expertsubjects.com.
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