Thursday, October 24, 2013

Self-publishing - It's Okay by Me


In today’s world of self-publishing, there are few limitations to putting Author behind your name. Each year, tens of thousands of aspiring, new writers sit down at their keyboards and begin their journey to becoming an author.  What they write about is as varied as their backgrounds.     
In the past, a handful of publishers determined what manuscripts made it to print and into the hands of readers.  The odds of new writers having their first book published were only slightly better than a Republican becoming mayor of Chicago.   As a result, it was only the most determined and best trained writers who prevailed.  If you were published, you probably had been a writer for many years, or you had a formal education in literature or composition, or you got lucky, or all of the above.
With today’s print-on-demand and e-book technologies, cooks, teachers, salesmen, bankers, moms, dads, coaches, and politicians are all becoming self-published authors.  Some have had little or no formal education in writing beyond high school composition, but that doesn’t slow down their fingers from rattling across their laptop keyboards and producing 80,000 word novels.  By definition, they are now authors.  
The ever-increasing volume of self-published books has some concerned with the perceived “lower quality” writing now reaching readers, even calling for self-publishing guidelines or requirements that must be met.  I’m not among the concerned, and I would feel this way even if I were not a self-published author.  Sure, with tens of thousands of new authors each year, the quality of writing will be inconsistent, but it’s a free enterprise system, and readers will quickly sort through their likes and dislikes.  After all, most self-published books are reasonably priced, and often the first several chapters can be downloaded at no charge before readers need to make a purchase decision. 
I’ve been posting interviews of aspiring, self-published authors on my blog, and I’ve found the experiences of these authors diverse and intriguing.  And in many cases, their writing is quite good.  I’ve also found many of these authors just enjoy writing and sharing their work with as many readers as possible.  Fame and fortune are not typically among their top motivations.  And it's a good thing, because most will sell fewer than a hundred copies of their books. They simply strive to improve their product and enjoy their writing journey. To my point, I’ve recently come across an author who had moonlighted as a professional wrestler many years prior, and he's currently working on a Master’s degree in English and has published several novels. 
I say let the cooks, teachers, salesmen, bankers, moms, dads, coaches, politicians (and professional wrestlers) write and self-publish as much as they want.  I look forward to perusing their book covers and reading many of their books.  And by the way, a few of these authors  who start out self-published do make it.  Ever hear of John Grisham?
Here's another interesting article on self-publishing - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-jim-taylor/are-self-published-author_b_4017301.html

2 comments:

  1. This seems to be a hot topic on Goodreads lately. I'm thankful for self-published authors because...well, I'm employed by them. There are a lot of great ones out there, and unfortunately (like most things), the few clunkers are overshadowing the genuine talent. I tend to go against the flow as far as what the marketers tell me I "should" like, so the gang of indies works for me. I have to believe that ultimately, the bad writers will simply stop getting sales and will either get better or fade away.

    I'm also enjoying your author interviews. I was fascinated by John Reinhard Dizon's bio, and I really like finding out more about a variety of authors: their history, their habits, their passions. I think it's wonderful to help promote others—there are enough readers out there for everyone.

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  2. Annie Edmonds AuthorOctober 25, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    D.R., I'm with you on this, why should NY publishing companies get to pick and choose who gets published and who doesn't. My first novel wasn't perfect. But I did better myself and I went back in with an editor and fixed the problems. I really think that indie publishing is going to become the norm. There are always going to be people that hate the idea of unknown writers getting to write and then publish their work. And most if not all have a good percentage of their books as a sample for free, so the readers can read before they decide to purchase. I say; if they think they can do better then go ahead. There is room for all of us independents.

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