For years, I have defended traditional publishing as the only true route to success in this business. I have held disdain for those who rushed to provide the public with works that may not be quite ready, because they have found the traditional route discouraging or the vanity route faster. I have argued that self publishing is a recourse for those who don’t want to pay their dues, those who don’t want to put the work into their manuscripts that is required to polish and perfect their stories.
And while I don’t totally renounce my beliefs, I am learning the positive attributes of self-publication.
What a blessing it is to have this avenue open for us. To have more control over the editing process, over what covers illustrate our content, over the distribution and pricing of our books (well, that one’s kinda tough, but I’m learning). Since so much of the marketing lands on our shoulders anyway, why on Earth would we want to share our profits with agents and editors? Find a freelance editor who has a sharp eye and a keen knowledge of the craft, then take it from there.
Of course, the downside is still there. Among the vast majority of those outside the publishing loop–those unaware of the monumental changes occurring in our industry–self-publication still holds a certain stigma. “Self-published” means “vanity published” means “bad books.” We’re fighting that stigma, and authors who rush to put their books out there after typing “the end” on a shoddy first draft only add to the problem.
But I have an award-winner under my belt, and a small, but growing, readership. While I still want a lucrative contract with a major publisher some day, I can’t argue with the fact that my once-traditionally pubbed book turned self-pubbed is making me more money than all my others put together. And I can’t argue with the fact that many big-name authors are driving down this road to self-publication and lending it a new hue of credibility.
So, to any and all self-pubbed authors I have ever argued with, I humbly apologize. You definitely have a point.