You wouldn’t advertise a fragrance by saying “it doesn’t smell of poo” so why does everyone who sets out to praise self-publishing do so by telling us how rubbish traditional publishing is? Here are some of the things I hear again and again:
- Publishers only care about profits.
- Publishers only want safe, boring books.
- There are just as many errors in traditionally published books.
- Publishers don’t add anything to the finished product.
- Publishers just don’t like progress.
- Publishers don’t care about their authors.
- Publishers are selfish.
- Publishers are evil gatekeepers intent on keeping great books out.
I’m not going to go on about how I disagree with all these points, but it only reinforces reluctance from readers loyal to the establishment. And that’s most of us. I don’t know a lot of people outside of the blogging world that read much self-published work. Publishers woo us, self-publishers act like the social outcast that pretends they don’t want to be in the in-crowd.
Not only that, but they’re being incredibly rude about fellow authors that have signed a deal. Would you say to their faces that their work is boring or riddled with errors? I expect they don’t even know one person who works in publishing. Everyone I have interacted with has been lovely, passionate about books and would be horrified if the above defined them.
Perhaps revolutionaries don’t have to be nice, but this is not a time of war. Take a breath and think about the positive aspects of self-publishing. There is a perception issue here and self-published authors need to do a lot of work to get past that. Make your books exciting and innovative; make them look beautiful, get professional help (the kind that supposedly isn’t adding anything to traditionally published books). Get out there and make your book the best it can be and forget about the politics. Readers don’t want to know about the chip on your shoulder, they want to know about your BOOK!
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