Self-publishing is an area that’s occupied my thoughts a lot over the past couple of weeks. It seems only a tiny percentage get picked up by the big publishers, and that self-publishing, small press publishing and Indie publishing are all becoming more popular and the stigma that I have mentioned before is dying.
One of the things that’s held me back from fully accepting self-publishing as a method is that it feels like cheating. I haven’t been accepted as published, anyone can put anything together and can claim ‘they’re published’ but it doesn’t mean the same as some publisher accepting your book is decent and are willing to sell it.
It doesn’t feel validating. I can’t go to my friends and say I’m published. So what? Anyone can upload a book to the net and sell it on lulu.com. It’s not the real deal.
Do people understand where I’m coming from?
I posted some of these thoughts on Twitter and got some great responses.
PublishingGuru said: “Self-pub is not cheating, it is the democratization of publishing. Power to the author!”
And on being validated, thecreativepenn said, “Re self-pub, your writing ability is validated by your sales and readers feedback – but editors also used “
I liked the second reply the most. The part about editing I’d learnt from Alan Baxter and was a bit of an ‘aha’ moment for me, but Joanna’s response (a.k.a. thecreativepenn) really struck me as true. It set off a nice fantasy of me self-publishing a book and selling lots of copies. Surely this would be just as validating, if not more, than being publishing in the traditional sense.
Of course though, only a minority of self-published authors hit the fantasy of making it big and showing up those publishing fat cats by selling heaps of books on their own.
I agree when Tom Cho said that success shouldn’t be measured so narrowly. But I guess my goal is to be read, to have a decent amount of people read my work and for people to take me and my writing seriously. This isn’t just a hobby. I’d like to be paid for it too.
How to go about all of that is still a question even though I’ve gotten some answers.