Saturday, January 5, 2008

Self Publishing Bigot

Sometimes I'm amazed at how easily it is to become a bigot. Try as you might to be an understanding, tolerant person, something inside of you clamors to feel superior in some way to your fellow man. I'm a W.A.S.P. Male to boot. I grew up in a nice middle class neighborhood. Was raised by good Christian parents. Was always taught that skin color didn't matter. Had a neighbor directly across from me who was black, and because of all this I think I have a pretty healthy attitude about race.... and sometimes I feel superior to others who aren't as enlightened as I am.

See what I mean? I can be a bigot about not being a bigot. What crazy beings man. This leads me to last night. My wife and I meet with a group from church every other Friday night to study the Bible (I know, we are swingers). Somehow during discussion it came up that I was writing a book, which by the way I try not to bring up very often, because I don't want to go off on talking about something I'm passionate about that really has the potential to bore people silly. Anyway, someone mentioned that their nephew just published a book. It was a Science Fiction novel, and he had given everyone in his family copies over Christmas. So did I think, "Wow isn't that great! Someone realized their dream!" No. I immediately figured that he self published, and he was having to give them away because he couldn't sell them. My goodness. When did I become so cynical? I haven't had time to fully process my reaction, but I found it disturbing. I'm not even published, self or otherwise. How can I look down my nose at someone who self published (and I'm only guessing here)? I've become a self publishing bigot of the worst kind.

So, Nephew Science Fiction Novel Guy, I am sorry. Please forgive me for looking down my unpublished, self publishing bigoty nose at you. I'm not sure if I've stumbled upon some deep flaw in my character, of which there are many, but I am sure going to keep an eye on it.


Stuart said...

It seems we're alot alike. :)

My brother told me that one of his former students got published and that I should contact him to see if he could help me. I held off my suspicions just long enough to check out said author's website. Yup. He was self-published. And not even good by POD standards...

I sent a snide email back to my brother about how "real" writers get paid to have their books published, not hte other way around.

POD Bigot? Guilty. :) At least until my manuscript spends a few years getting rejected, then it might not seem too bad.

groovygrrl said...

When your book is finally published, by yourself or otherwise, you will want to give copies to all your family and friends. It has nothing to do with being able to sell it or not. You want to share your joy--which is what your nephew was doing.

Published is published. I self-published because I wanted to make money from my writing. I do make money from it. I'm still writing, and will continue to self-publish.

Why do you want to be published?

Exploring this question may help you to overcome your bigotry. Thanks for acknowledging it. You sound like the understanding sort.


D. Robert Pease said...

POD Bigot! Much cooler than Self Publishing Bigot. And I agree that some day I might just end up going down that road as well. Until you walk in their moccasins and all that.

D. Robert Pease said...

Why do I want to be published? Good question. Perhaps I'll need to do a post on that some time in the near future. I guess the short answer is, because I think I have something worth saying, and I hope other people might think so too.

groovygrrl said...

If that's the reason you want to be published, then self-publishing is just one way to get the word out, right?

Stuart said...

Amy, I just looked at your link. Self-publishing makes much more sense for non-fiction, especially for smaller niches like you soap making (cool idea, btw).

Fiction is a different story, because in most (not all) cases, fiction of quality will find it's way to traditional publishing houses. Ok, I'll modify that to fiction that appeals to a wider audience.

There was a blog a few years ago called PODdy Mouth. She would review any self-published/POD novel sent to her. Her statistics about the level of quality were abysmally low.

I think there is a future in POD publishing, just like respected book reviews have shifted from newspapers to blogs, but it's not here yet.

IMHO, the higher level of (average) quality for fiction published traditionally is because the publisher has some stake in the outcome. They pay the writer an advance and pay for the editing/processing/etc/publishing of the novel. Before a book hits the shelves, the publisher has a fair amount of capital invested upfront, just as the writer invests his/her time up front. Both parties are banking on the book succeeding.

For most self publishing companies, this isn't the case. The writer foots the bill for time writing, the money for editing/printing/binding, and then time/capital for marketing. A self-published book suceeding will reap rewards for the company too, as I think you've experienced, but their business plan makes sure they profit from the failures too.

This is why most of the fiction world are snide bigots of self-publishing. Too many companies are taking advantage of writers with money burning a hole in their bank accounts.

Michelle Pendergrass said...

I have a hard time with self-publishing as well.