Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

The Fears of Self-Publishing Are Still Hotly Swirling . . .

Those who blindly cling to the Traditional Model of publishing have a tendency to raise biased alarms when others show favor for Self-Publishing.

I saw an article on one of my favorite sites, Publetariat, called Why DIY Publishing is Not a Dead End [ DIY meaning Do It Yourself ].

It was a reprint from M. Louisa Locke’s post with the same title—Why DIY Publishing is Not a Dead End.

Ms. Locke was responding to a Porter Anderson piece, EXTRA ETHER: Will DIY Pay for R&D?, which was responding to a post from the Boston Phoenix called The dead end of DIY publishing.

If you want to feel the full force of the Hotly Swirling Fears that the phenomenon of Self-Publishing can induce, read all three articles.

I happen to have chosen Self-Publishing for my books and would need a very good lawyer looking over any offers I might receive from a traditional publisher.

There are valid reasons to choose traditional publishing but my posts here about Joe Konrath’s experience show why you should be extremely wary

But, to return to Ms. Locke’s post, here are a few excerpts:

“I am not going to argue that traditional publishing is dead, or that self-publishing is the best or only route for every author to take, but what I am going to do is give you my reasons why I don’t believe that self-publishing is a dead end.”

[In reference to the writer of the Boston Phoenix post] “Since she can’t prove her statement that self-publishing is unprofitable, she instead feels the need to insult those people who do it by suggesting that the authors don’t care if they make money because they ‘wouldn’t make a dime because no publisher would take them’, or that if they make money, it was only because they had the money to invest in the process because the ‘truth is self-publishing costs money.’”

[Taking her argument further…] “If she had either done her research or wanted to paint a balanced view of self-publishing surely she would have taken the time to interview one of the hundreds of self-published authors she could find on the internet (we blog incessantly about our experiences), and mentioned that Smashwords, Amazon’s KDP, and Barnes and Noble’s PubIt, and Amazon’s CreateSpace and Lightening Source have made it possible for authors to publish without that large initial investment.”

[One of her most persuasive points—made in response to the claim that traditional publishing nurtures new authors] “What I will argue is, that if we are discussing fiction, which Williamson seemed to be doing, the nurturing that authors need the most is a steady predictable income so that they don’t have to work full time at something else, and the research and development they need is marketing data that they can then use to develop new strategies for getting their work to the reader and getting that reader to buy their work.”

“I have every reason to expect that the two books I have published will continue to sell, and that as I publish more books, my income will go up. My traditionally published friends know that in most cases they will never make any money after the advance, and they have no guarantee that the next book they write will ever be published. Which vision of the future would you find more nurturing?”

If you’re a writer or know one, I urge you to read or recommend Ms. Locke’s full post

And, while clearly admitting that all self-published authors won’t necessarily make big bucks, I’ll quote a bit from Joe Konrath, to show the possibilities:

“One hundred grand [$100,000]. That’s how much I’ve made on Amazon in the last three weeks.

“This is just for my self-pubbed Kindle titles. It doesn’t include Shaken and Stirred, which were published by Amazon’s imprints. It doesn’t include any of my legacy sales, print or ebook. It doesn’t include audiobook sales. It doesn’t include sales from other platforms.

“This is from my self-pubbed books. The ones the Big 6 rejected.”

And, just to drive the point home, one more excerpt from Ms. Locke’s piece:

“Will some authors fail, or be disappointed? Of course. Will some of these experiments prove unsuccessful, certainly. But, without self-publishing these authors wouldn’t have gotten the chance to fail, and many others, like myself, a former academic in her sixties, wouldn’t have ever gotten the chance to succeed.”

Any comments, thoughts, feelings, or rebuttals?
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5 responses to “The Fears of Self-Publishing Are Still Hotly Swirling . . .

  1. martinaseveckepohlen July 18, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Whatever Ms Williamson writes, traditional publishers don’t invest large amounts in order to nurture young authors. When the Taleist survey was published it got little attention in Germany, except the average income of 10.000 dollars which was said to prove that self-publishing doesn’t pay. The popular German blogger Leander Wattig then published the average income of all German authors in 2011. It was just below 17.000 euros, with a little more than 14.000 euros for those under the age of thirty.


  2. Alexander M Zoltai July 18, 2012 at 11:39 am


    Thanks for your corroboration from Germany of the thrust of this post


  3. Barbara Blackcinder July 20, 2012 at 8:26 am

    I grew up believing in the fallacy that publishers gave out advances to authors to encourage them. I see now that it was just held in front of their faces to egg them on. Some nurturing that is….


  4. Alexander M Zoltai July 20, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Yes, Barb, there’s lots of propaganda out there


  5. Alexander M Zoltai July 20, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Some of the publishers’ procedures may have started out a rational but have warped over time


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