Sinful Self-Publishing! Isn’t it?

Last Monday I attended a creative writing meeting and was just sitting down with my cup of blackberry chamomile tea when a conversation sparked up that piqued my interest. Big time publishing companies. The writers sitting around my table were ranting about big time publishing companies, and not even the polite ranting you hear around the office, this is the venomous bile you hurl at your worst enemy (and then some). Big companies want cookie-cutter material. They want certain specifics that only a few authors pen. They leave great authors high and dry in the slush pile or sitting on their desks for months, maybe years. The conversation was so heated you could warm your hands by it, yet when it all cooled down, the main issue was this – big publishing companies are hard to get into, we’ve all heard this before, it’s a tough nut to crack and few even make a sliver.

Because of this qualm, many of the members are resorting to self-publishing. As soon as those two words were uttered the crowd went silent… like my fellow writer said something taboo. Self-publishing? The conversation shifted. Altered. There was a wide range of reactions to those words, some merely shook their head, some said send it out to more agents, but most of them nodded, saying that’s what they’re doing as well. Publishing the book themselves. There was even one writer who is going straight for self-publishing, not even sending her novel out to any “big time” publishing companies or agents. Yet what struck me most is that, for this particular gaggle of writers, it was seen as a “last resort.”

But really should it be a last resort at all? Why can’t it be the first resort?

I’ve heard the qualms of self-publishing before in my college classes and beyond – how it’s not really that reputable, or how it’s not going to have the same feel that a ‘real’ publishing company can give you, or how it’s not really worthwhile if you want to make it big.

But, honestly, I don’t think those are very good reasons. For one, you can check if a site is reputable or not by researching – there are good sites out there (smashwords is the one that comes to my mind). For another, if you want the same feel as a ‘real’ publishing company, you can do that yourself! Get an editor to go over the work, become your own agent, market yourself, you can even get hard-copies of your work published and sell it at your local bookstore if you wanted. If you’re worried about “making it big” then, I’m sorry to say, you’re worried about the wrong thing. Writer’s shouldn’t write to make it big,  we should write because we have something to say, and if you do happen to make some money in the process then good for you! But don’t count on it. Write because you love writing. Plus, there’s always a chance that you will make it big anyway, I’ve heard of authors starting out online, self-publishing some things and getting a following, and then being picked up by a bigger publishing company.

Personally, I see nothing wrong with self-publishing, it’s a good way to get noticed and shouldn’t be seen as a “last resort.” I mean, come on, if you have a story to tell and feel like the world should read it then get it out there any way you possibly can. That’s not to say I’m against the usual way of publishing – agents, editors, publishing companies and the like – but I think it’s important to realize there are other ways of circulating your work.

Thoughts?

Warm regards,
Kellie

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6 thoughts on “Sinful Self-Publishing! Isn’t it?

  1. I agree with you. The writers who “make it” in the world are the ones who never stop trying to get their stories out, regardless of what methods they use. Although I would like to be published traditionally, I’m actually really gung-ho about the self-publishing scene. I would definitely find a professional editor to go over my work, and find someone to work with on a cover, etc. And still, who is to say I can’t do both publishing routes? I’ve been thinking of trying to get my novel traditionally published, then self-publish a book of short stories.

    Great post! 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment and kind words! It’s so true, writers never should stop circulating their stories, no matter what kind of route they chose to take. If you like your story, put it out there! I love that you’re thinking of doing both, by the way. I think that’s a smart way of getting noticed, try every avenue you can (and/or want). I’m also thinking of self-publishing a novella and then traditionally publishing my novel.

      What kind of novel are you writing?

      • haha, there’s just something about seeing my story in an actual print book that I would love. And I’m just genuinely curious about the whole publishing world. Also, self-publishing for actual books seems too expensive for me right now, whereas, self-publishing as an e-book is definitely more in my grasp. I think self-publishing your novella is a great idea, considering people these days are more likely to buy full novels as opposed to novellas, especially in print form.

        I’m currently working my way through a fiction novel geared towards the young 20-somethings out there but I’m sure high school girls would like it too. It’s about a girl named Paige who drops out of college, is estranged from her family, jobless, and then gets dumped by her boyfriend, who she happens to share a 1-bedroom apartment with. It follows her misadventures of living with her ex, and trying to find love, a job, and her sanity.
        What about you? How’s your writing coming along?

      • Oh I know! I’d love to see something I’ve written in print too. I have this dream where I wrote a completed manuscript that got published and can hold the book in my hands. E-publishing is kind-of the new kid on the block but it’s getting so popular and so accessible that I think it’s a smart move for you to make.

        Your novel sounds great! Is it set in current time?

        Well I’m working on two projects at once. My novel is a lesbian sci-fi adventure, focusing on the story of a spaceship captain trying to get away from her past wrongs. She’s being hunted by a rouge spacer, determined to make her turn “evil”, and is trying to get away from him too. Amongst all this chaos, she’s fallen in love with one of her crewmates and hasn’t a clue what to do about it. It’s a pretty dark piece and is written for 20-somethings. That novel is about 13 chapters done, I still have a ways to go with it.

        My second piece is my novella – I wanted to take a story that I wrote when I was younger and transform it into a better work of art (back then I thought it was the best thing I ever wrote… but really it needs a total re-work, haha! To put it simply…there was green lava involved). It’s a fantasy coming-of-age story focusing on this servant girl who turns into this great powerful enchanter. She doesn’t know if she wants all the power though is quite intimidated by everything that’s thrust upon her. It’s written for 20-somethings, though, like yours, I’m pretty sure teenagers would like it too. It’s coming along slowly but I like where it’s headed.

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