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Monday, February 27, 2012

The Evils of Self Publishing: A Writer's View

*The following post is being written as Missy the writer, rather than the previous rant from Melissa the reader.*

The saying, you can't teach an old dog new tricks, definitely applies to me. I'm the type of person who once I get something in my head, it's kinda hard to shake it. When I first decided to try my hand at being published in 2008, self-publishing was still frowned upon by most. The term vanity press was said with a wrinkled nose and furrowed brow. I was warned away from venturing in that direction by more than one knowledgeable person. Then I don't really know what happened. Slowly but surely things changed and it's now all the rage to self-pub your work. Some authors do it out of necessity for various reasons, some to try the venture. It's true there is a lot to be said for self-publishing, but is it really a trend worth trying?

My take on it for my own work has always been, I really need my editors. I'm reminded of this every time I get edits back for my newest book. I don't think I'm a horrible writer, but there are a lot of mechanical things I miss. I also like certain words and commas too damn much. Plus I tend to have my heroes use pet names a lot. These are traits I'm sure I'll eventually overcome, but one thing I can't seem to get over is the self-publishing stigma. In the back of my mind is the little voice saying: if it's not good enough for a publishing contract, it's not good enough to publish.

Now, any of my author friends reading this please don't take offense. That little voice is all about me and my writing. These are my stigmas and hang-ups. However, if you read yesterday's rant you'll see the other side of why I'm still shying away from self-publishing. These ideas might change. It was only about four years ago that I didn't think my writing was good enough to be published at all. I think I've come a long way, and so has the industry.

My only other concern is the free and $ .99 trend. As I mentioned yesterday I'm of the you get what you pay for mindset about most things. I don't want to devalue my own work. A visual artist would never walk into a gallery and slash the prices of his/her paintings or sculptures just to get his/her name out there. The work would speak for itself. As an author I feel my writing is my art. I'd hope it would speak for itself, good or bad, to those who view it.

So to self-pub or not to self-pub, is that the question? For me, personally, the answer is not right now. I'm probably missing out on a good thing, wouldn't be the first time. But I just don't think it's something I can fully get behind for my own work right now. Besides, I really love my publishers.

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