Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Why I have never self-published

A casual reading of the self-POD blogs suggests that they tend to be started by self-published authors. After all, that is the main way people become involved in this side of the industry. Now, I have occasionally thought about self-publishing a book. I did, many years ago, produce home made zines. Two issues, to be exact. Then I discovered that it really is far more effort than you'd think. I have a similar feeling about self publishing. Sure, I have some stories where I have sold only the e-publishing rights--and some others that would not be easily publishable elsewhere due to style and content... and some poetry. But I also have a healthy suspicion that I simply couldn't devote enough time to self-publishing them to produce a product I would be proud of (let alone one that would sell).

But is this laziness on my part entirely a bad thing? For a start my failure to self-publish makes me a relatively impartial commentator. I have evidence that I am relatively impartial in that I get regularly accused of being both a nay-sayer and a cheerleader. My reply to these criticisms is: Look, Bub. Just what do you think is in it for me? I do not have a self-published book to sell. I have no stakes in this game... except as a reader. This is not to suggest I do not write, I do. I write erotica and romance books with occasional stories in print anthologies and a small press novel coming out in October. But my only interest in self-publishing is as a reader.

And it was as a reader that I discovered self-published books were often pretty bad, sometimes rather good and occasionally magnificent. This was something I wanted other readers to know. The only thing I wanted other writers to appreciate was that self-publishing has its place. It isn't on a pedestal or hidden down in the basement. Self-published books should be able to find a place on our bookshelves according to their merits. That was the only reason that I first started this blog and the associated website--out of a respect for good writing and a realisation that good self-published writing starts out at a distribution disadvantage because readers have to learn about it, they have to actively seek it out. And good self-published writers, who are considerably less lazy then me, deserve a little recognition.

1 comment:

Snook said...

People that aren't prepared to accept that their work isn't up to par (sucks) should never submit their work for review. My Pa always said "If you don't want to know the answer, don't ask the question." I know that I'm not Hemingway, so I'm prepared for whatever criticism comes my way. Sure, it's unpleasant sometimes, but you have to accept a review for what it is - an informed opinion, hopefully constructive.

So I say: the heck with them. I think you are providing a much needed service, keep up the good work.