Monday, October 6, 2014

The Never Ending Argument About Self Publishing

This post is a mash-up of a something I posted at Facebook a couple days ago and something I just this morning sent to the SinC listserve.  

It may go the mile in explaining why I get my dander up whenever I see some pat explanation about traditional publishing versus self-publishing.  OR get my dander up whenever I see some long convoluted explanation about the same.

We've all got an opinion.

They're all valid opinions.

What bothers me is that so many of the arguments on the side of traditional publishing seem so very lacking in feelings when it comes time to perhaps remember that some of those self-published folks are friends of yours.  With feelings.

here's a story I've kept to myself for a year and a half.

It has become obvious to me that I need to tell it, since it is still sticking in my crawl and hurting my heart.  I need to let it go.

Writing helps me let things go.

I hope this works for this particular story, because I am sick to death of carrying it around.

Let me tell you a little story about why I am probably the most cynical self-published writer you know.

Since you're reading this, you are obviously aware that I have this little blog called Meanderings and Muses.

A lot of mystery writers have had a stint or two there.

When I published "Whimsey" I contacted some of the writers who had blogs who had appeared at my Meanderings and Muses.

One blog I contacted was one I had been invited to be a guest on before I had written and published Whimsey.

I asked if I could pop in as an opportunity to promote my book.

I was told no - no self-published books or authors.  

Did it hurt?

You bet.

Does it still hurt?

You bet.


Here's my question.  Is the mission statement of a blog regarding NO SELF PUBLISHERS ALLOWED more important than the friendship of that self published writer?  

To some, the answer is obviously a loud resounding yes.  And that makes me sad.

Why I write.

and will continue writing - although, slowly it goes . . . .

I have 56 reviews at amazon with an overall 4.2 rating out of 5. I have no idea if that's a low number or a high number of reviews for a self-published writer whose book has been out for a year and a half. 

The latest 3 reviews were submitted last month. 

Two were 5 star, one was 4 star - by people I do not know. Never heard of, but extremely happy, of course, that they discovered my novel by word of mouth or by reviews, yes I did get some "real" reviews and yes some were actually written by "real" reviewers I do not know - imagine that. 

And, to be perfectly clear - those reviewers who reviewed it who do know me are, to a person, ethical and honest and gave reviews that were fair, ethical and honest - just as every review they have ever written is fair, ethical and honest.

I had my reasons for choosing to go the self-published route.
I wrote about those reasons, at length, at my blog last year -…/why-ive-decided-to-self-publish 

When I finally get Book 2 finished (and no - I am not rushing to get it done. It works better for me to write when it feels right for me - another story for another day).

But here's my most recent review, which I love, of course.

I thank the reader for not just the kind words, and the time it took to write them, but for taking the time to read a self-published novel (did she even know it was self-published? Did she care if it was self-published?)

How did she find it?

Could it have been word of mouth?

Could it have been that she was one of the 3,000 people who took advantage of the give-away I did at amazon for the Kindle version?

No idea.

But here's what she said.

5.0 out of 5 stars magic, September 28, 2014
By Deborah Friend (Mulberry, In.) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: WHIMSEY: A NOVEL (Kindle Edition)

"Lifted my spirits!
A reminder that magic is real when you don't have to have all the answers. Answers to the child in all of us."

Perhaps another poor unsuspecting reader will come along, read this review and actually buy a book that they might actually enjoy and then, OH NO! realize it was self-published and they'll have to rethink the fact that they did enjoy it and perhaps set themselves on fire or something.



Karen in Ohio said...

How silly, to have such a prejudice against self-pubbed authors. Self-publishers need MORE help, rather than less, because we are doing every. darn. thing. ourselves: writing, editing, publishing (print and e-format), trying to get reviewed, trying to sell to libraries and trying to get into bookstores; getting the ISBN/submitting to the Library of Congress, marketing, and scheduling bookstore signings, blog hops, and everything else. It's handselling the hard way.

In the spirit of giving the benefit of the doubt, I don't think traditionally published authors understand all this. If they did, they would have a completely different feeling about self-publishing. Or at least I hope they would.

mybillcrider said...

Not sure I fully understand the arguments against self-publishing. Sure, there are some really bad books out there, but then look at some of the books from the Big 5 (or 4 or 3 or whatever it is). Some of those are pretty bad, too. I've self-published a few things, myself, so maybe I'm prejudiced. But when you have Lawrence Block self-publishing, you know there are some Big Names getting into the act.

Anonymous said...

I just also read your SinC post... that person is a nasty bitch! If you send me the name in a CIA sealed envelope I'll stick a pin in her! So there, whoever the witch is!!! Thelma in Manhattan

Melinda B. Pierce said...

I read on my Kindle so I usually head to Amazon, search the type of book I like and if the cover (yes I'm a snob there) and the blurb are what I'm looking for I buy. I read and usually enjoy. Only because I'm an aspiring do I go back after I'm done reading to see who the publisher is and I always find myself cheering the self pub books more. It's amazing outside of publishing how much we cheer on individuals who leave big corporations to start their own businesses. To give a silly example, my eyebrow gal just left a bix box store to open her own booth at a salon that is only made up of individual stylists with their own businesses. I'm so happy for her and she now controls all of her time. She was so good at her craft that all her clients followed her. I think that should be the main point -- being good at your craft. ~Melinda