Do you frown, wrinkle your nose or sneer at the concept of authors who self publish? Why? Is it because you think that this is a path for anyone to become an author — not just those of us who have the talent?
Traditional publishing takes a long time. You have to fight and beg for even the opportunity to have your manuscript read. If you are lucky enough to have a book accepted (and that can easily take years of effort) then you are stuck living by the rules of your publishing house. You do what they want you to do, accept what they want to pay you, charge what they want to charge for your books, and go where they send you for marketing. While I realize that for some writers, the be-all-and-end-all of existence, the holy grail itself, is to be an author at a large traditional publishing house.
If that is what your dream is, then I say let no one take it from you. Be diligent in working toward it. Just don’t hate on those of us who choose not to go that route.
I am not only willing to put my fingers into every step of the publishing and marketing process, but I prefer it that way (yes, I have control issues, but really good ones!). I run my own company, I have been in graphic design and marketing for pushing three decades now. I know what I’m doing and I’m very comfortable doing it myself. For someone like me, traditional publishing is not a viable pathway. I would be so frustrated with the repeated efforts, the delays, the rules, I would feel like an employee all over again. So not interested in going there. Not for me.
With self publishing, I have control over the whole process and how fast it moves. I can have access to everything that I would have at a publishing house. Yes, I do have to pay for their services. But you pay for them at a traditional publishing house too, after they ‘accept’ you. You just don’t realize it. Royalties in traditional publishing are normally a very low percentage. That’s because all the things I pay for individually (editing, marketing, public relations, isbns, etc) are all tallied up under the expenses of the publishing house and you the author only make money after they start clearing their expenses.
I would rather pick who my editor, marketer, cover designer, etc are personally, without having to think about their company affiliation or place of employment. All I have to be concerned with is that our personalities match, we have the same goals for my book, and I can afford them. And when you can pull down 70-80% of the book price in author royalties, I have a lot more leeway in what I can afford.
For me, it’s all about the choices I can make and having the freedom to make them. I’m sure there are some writers who are now authors who don’t really have the talent or ability to write a good book. The most wonderful thing about a book is that if you don’t like it, you don’t have to buy it. And with billions of people on the planet, there’s a market for just about everything. One man’s trash, another man’s treasure.
So don’t hate on self publishing because its different. Our standards aren’t lower. In fact, in lots of cases, they are higher, because there is no big publishing house to hide behind if we screw it up. 🙂