Thursday, August 19, 2010

Vacation Thoughts on Fish and Self-Publishing Success -- c.anne.gardner

Everyone has probably read this Newsweek article by now: Who Needs a Publisher

And it is very exciting to see that 5 of the top 100 best sellers in the Kindle Store are self-published titles, but I have to ask this question: Why are we measuring success by the traditional publishing yardstick: I sold [this many] books and subsequently got a publishing contract with a big NY publishing house and that = successful?

I don't mean to shit on everyone's parade here. That self-publishing is moving into the mainstream and that we are slowly but surely becoming less of an illiterate bastard step-child is a good thing, but we need to maintain some perspective here, and what I am about to say isn't going to be a cheerleading rant and it will probably piss some people off, but I have to say it. The majority of self-published authors need to be realistic. Not every self-published author is going see the same results with their self-published book as mentioned in the article. Frankly, some self-published authors do not fully understand the concept of craft nor do they grasp the concepts of revision and editing, not to mention that serious self-publishing is about more than slapping your manuscript up on Kindle then awaiting the accolades. Then there is the fact that some genres are harder than others to breakout into. As for marketing: some self-published authors just don't have the time, inclination, or in some cases, the charm enough to brand and market themselves in cyberville, and some self-published authors just don't measure success that way to begin with. I am an Indie; I can think for myself. I don't need corporate publishing to define success for me: I am perfectly capable of defining it myself, and maybe the definition, for some authors, matches yours, but the bottom line is that we choose how to define our succes. We choose. Got that!

Those who know me know that I am all for Indie publishing and Indie authors. Shit, I am one myself. Artistic Anarchy is my thing. Indie publishing is getting noticed in a good way, but I fear for the Indie Author Identity. I don't want the spirit of Independent Publishing to become tainted by mainstream dogma. I don't want to see that anarchist spirit morph into conformist bootlicking. Damn It! I don't want literary works written like Hollywood blockbusters and vice versa. I don't want to lose the sense of adventure and autonomy that comes with being independent. And I certainly don't want to see any author's work defined by a bunch of naysayers whose litmus test for quality writing is what they can get for it bottom dollar, because then we move into the traditional bureaucratic way of defining things: successful self-published author = this. No. That's NOT what being Indie all about. It's about thinking outside of the box, not trying to cram ourselves into one. The last motto I will ever put faith in is: crap until proven marketable. So why in hell would I ever let someone else define success for me like I am some kind of moron?

But that is just my personal opinion, of course, and I felt like ranting, since I am on vacation this week and this post was scheduled before I left. But I am glad I got that out of my system. Now onto some review writing.

Cheryl Anne Gardner

The pic this week is way off topic, but it is vacation. Meet my new Betta fish, Beavis. I was missing the 55 gallon fish tank I got rid of a year ago -- too much work and expense -- but after fish keeping for twenty years, I missed it. I also find that Beavis is a good listener, and it's relaxing to watch him tend to his home. For those aquatically inclined: it's a two gallon bowl with live Java fern, Anubias nana, and floating water lettuce. The heat lamp is a 5000k mini-spiral CFL bulb, and he gets fresh water every day. Yes, I have passions other than writing and reading, and they usually involve nature or animals of some sort. I hope to write a book about my life with Ferrets some day. Well, back to vacation. Happy Reading and see you all next week.


Anonymous said...

AWESOME job, quite simply.

Indie all the way!

- Jeff Emmerson

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this great article, I linked back to it in my blog. The link to the Newsweek article was great, too.

Self-publishing isn't easy if you actually want to sell copies of your book! Professional editing, cover design, etc, all of that is expensive and many self-pubbers simply can't or won't spend the money.

But there are some real success stories out there. I've had great success self-publishing non-fiction. The market is changing, that's for sure.

veinglory said...

We have something else in common. 3 girl bettas in a 10g. They are very attentive but I think the privately think I talk a lot of rubbish. But hey, I provide the betta flakes.

Cheryl Anne Gardner said...

Thanks Christy and Jeff. I was sure I was going to get some hate mail for this, but apparently I struck a nerve in a good way. People are linking back and I have gotten some rather positive emails.

Emily that is so cool. I just can't do a tank again, but my little guy is very happy and very busy in his bowl. He has already made a huge bubble nest, which he tends to and defends every day. My little guy likes worms.

Darcia Helle said...

Love it! Incredibly well said, Cheryl. Some of us thrive in the indie world and don't want to be swallowed up by the mainstream cookie cutter world.