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Self-publishing: An insult to the written word : General Questions & Discussions • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Self-publishing: An insult to the written word

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Self-publishing: An insult to the written word

Postby Oldtimer » Sun Jan 01, 2017 7:02 pm

Did any of you read this stinging, divisive condemnation of self-publishing posted by Laurie Gough in The Huffington Post (and linked to Underground Book Reviews)? I am sorry I forgot to copy the link, but I found it on December 29, 2016, on Facebook.

I didn't know whether to laugh, cry or shout several expletives at my screen. I did add a feeble comment which was immediately lost among the 724 other comments, before I read the article again, hoping to find some point of agreement with this self-assured lady. However, all the re-read made me feel was that I was a complete, utter failure.

But then came this morning, the start of a new year. Mechanically, I checked Smashwords and KDP to see if by some miracle I had sold a book. I hadn't, but eleven pages of The Gift had been read on KDP. That's better than nothing, and it gave me heart to keep plugging on.

I also found an interesting opportunity, offered by KDP. I quote: We're excited to offer the opportunity to publish paperbacks in addition to Kindle eBooks. We'll be adding even more print-related features in the future, like proof copies, author (wholesale) copies, and expanded distribution to bookstores and non-Amazon websites.

Did I read that right? It certainly sounds like something that could lead to sales for me, so I am going to check it out. I'll keep you posted.
Read samples of my Martian series (by Dorothy Piper) and two romances (by Joni Havel) on Smashwords.
Hard copies of all are on Amazon.

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cynicalwanderer
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Re: Self-publishing: An insult to the written word

Postby cynicalwanderer » Mon Jan 02, 2017 5:12 am

Here's the link by the way:

I don't entirely disagree with the premise of the article. There is some truth to the claim that the publishing industry has traditionally served as a form of quality control to weed out much of the incoherent rubbish and rambling manifestos that get written every year. However, the article assumes this is absolute, which can easily be dispelled by examining a few exceptions. Look at how many rejections the first Harry Potter book received before it was finally accepted - were all those scions of the publishing industry who passed it over summarily sacked for their failure to recognise its potential? No, they're human and there is no formula. Shudder at the amateurish prose quality of 50 Shades of Gray, but then realise how much money it has made, and that some publisher greenlit that and got rich. Again, no formula, just decisions and content. Check out Wool by Hugh Howey, a major self-publishing success story. Matthew Reilly sold vanity-published prints of his first book out of the boot of his car before he made it big. David Leadbeater, Luke Smitherd, and other self-publishers are churning out great content, and are just some of the authors on my immediate-buy list. And yes, inevitably there will be loads of unfiltered garbage released by self-publishers as well; but it can just as easily be seen that there is loads of garbage released every year by the official industry too. As always, it comes down to taste, accessibility, and to ensure attention is paid to performing some decent editing.

If anything, the problem here is not self-publishing, but discovery. How do we know which books will make us smile, make us weep, will satisfy us and not raise our grammar hackles? It's not quite as simple as assuming all industry books are going to be good quality and all self-pubs are going to be junk. Reviews, too, can be a mixed and untrustworthy bag for all sorts of reasons. I think it's much like the issue of whether or not to send a kid to private school. Statistically, by a small proportion, you might get a smarter kid than if you'd saved your money and put them through the public system. But you don't know, you can't know in advance. And that's pretty much the same with books - how can we tell its quality in advance, how can we measure its resonance with our personal preferences? There's no easy answer here. But dismissing self-publishing entirely, rolling back this new era of accessibility in order to remove the silt but at the price of also tossing out the gold, is not that answer.
"I've stopped giving advice. Even when people ask for it, they resent getting it." -Ross Macdonald.

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Re: Self-publishing: An insult to the written word

Postby shadowwalker » Mon Jan 02, 2017 10:34 am

The problem, IMHO, is that the really good self-published works are the exception, and the really bad trade published books are also the exceptions. When an author is rejected by trade publishers, they have the opportunity to sit back, think about why, revise if necessary, and then resubmit. They also have professional editors working with them to make that book the best it can be. Not so SPs. There are no roadblocks to self-publishing and until SP authors start demanding better quality writing of their fellow writers instead of being cheerleaders for anyone who wants to call themselves published, it will continue to have a bad reputation. That hurts the SPs who really work hard to do the job trade publishers do, and who sincerely want to put out the best books they can.

As to the print opportunities, oldtimer, until they start talking $$ (cost versus return), I'd keep my skepticism in gear.
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Re: Self-publishing: An insult to the written word

Postby robjvargas » Mon Jan 02, 2017 10:46 am

Slowly putting together a "replacement" forum at http://writerswriting.proboards.com.

It's still under construction, but come take a look.

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Re: Self-publishing: An insult to the written word

Postby pls » Mon Jan 02, 2017 11:06 am

Andy Weir's "The Martian" comes to mind as a very successful self-published novel which might not have reached the public otherwise had it not been self-published. I'm sure there are many other good examples.
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Re: Self-publishing: An insult to the written word

Postby Oldtimer » Mon Jan 02, 2017 1:29 pm

Read samples of my Martian series (by Dorothy Piper) and two romances (by Joni Havel) on Smashwords.
Hard copies of all are on Amazon.

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Re: Self-publishing: An insult to the written word

Postby robjvargas » Mon Jan 02, 2017 3:15 pm

Slowly putting together a "replacement" forum at http://writerswriting.proboards.com.

It's still under construction, but come take a look.

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Re: Self-publishing: An insult to the written word

Postby onceuponwednesday » Mon Jan 02, 2017 3:19 pm

The Rule of Three

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Re: Self-publishing: An insult to the written word

Postby shadowwalker » Mon Jan 02, 2017 4:08 pm

"It seems rather like wanting to be ... a writer, rather than wanting to write. It should be a by-product, not a thing in itself. Otherwise, it's just an ego trip." - Roger Zelazny

It's really not that hard. Just tell me a story.

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Re: Self-publishing: An insult to the written word

Postby robjvargas » Tue Jan 03, 2017 11:59 am

Slowly putting together a "replacement" forum at http://writerswriting.proboards.com.

It's still under construction, but come take a look.

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