Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Is Self-Publishing Good or Bad? & Are Self-Published Authors Doing It “Right”?


I’m sort of a “self-published” author—it depends on one’s definition in a rapidly changing field—but, I prefer the title “Publishing-Aided” author.

Many folks use the term “self-publishing” for any book that isn’t produced by the Big Six (and two of those look to be merging).

Also, even though there are 64 posts on this blog about “self-publishing”, most of the material is about the U.S.A.

I hope my readers from other countries can fill out the global picture in our Comments :-)

A company called Bowker is, in the U. S., the official ISBN Agency.

The article Self-Publishing Sees Triple-Digit Growth in Just Five Years, Says Bowker seems to show self-publishing as a major force in our Book World.

Yet, author Melissa Foster has written Are Self-Pubbed Authors Killing the Publishing Industry?

To me, Melissa’s piece is a mixed-bag of opinions and the 80+ comments that follow it show how polarized people are about “self-publishing”.

Melissa says: “Self-published authors have created a devaluing of the written word, and, some of them are scrambling to see how low they can go to get noticed.”

I say: While I realize that Melissa is wanting to make a point, she states the case far too broadly.

Her “devaluing” refers to low-priced e-books and various methods folks are using to promote their work—she calls them “gimmicks”.

Melissa says: “The lesson may be that if indie authors don’t value their work, chances are no one else will either.”

I say: First, she calls them “self-published” then “Indie” yet, even in the confusing early days of this phenomenon, those two terms seem quite different

Then: Is charging a low price for a book automatic proof that the author doesn’t value their work?

In our materialistic culture, is it a “rule” that one must always charge “what the market will bear”—especially, when that market is being so heavily manipulated that people are struggling to get along?

While Melissa is an “award-winning author of three International bestselling novels” she alsoteaches authors how to navigate the book marketing world, build their platforms, and leverage the power of social media, through her author-training programs“.

In those 80+ comments, Melissa admits that her post was not edited

Strange, since this is one of the most common complaints leveled against self-published authors.

Also, in those comments, she goes head-to-head in personal attacks with another person

I get the feeling that her post is more a come-on for her making money telling other authors how to “succeed”.

The real shame, in this radical phenomenon called self-publishing, is that there are so many authors out there trying to make money preaching to other authors

No matter the Numbers and Dollars, it will be quite some time before authors (or, readers) can definitively claim to confidently comprehend what Value self-publishing has bequeathed to our Book World.
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17 responses to “Is Self-Publishing Good or Bad? & Are Self-Published Authors Doing It “Right”?

  1. John Pope October 26, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Where do I begin? How about the fact some writers would prefer not to subject themselves to what many classify as evil behavior by those mainstream publishers. Take a look at the litigation against them.
    http://www.theverge.com/2012/8/30/3278701/hachette-simon-schuster-harpercollins-ebook-price-fixing-settlement
    or
    http://www.theverge.com/2012/8/30/3278701/hachette-simon-schuster-harpercollins-ebook-price-fixing-settlement
    Perhaps self published folks prefer letting readers choose what they want after all publishers aren’t always right….
    http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/arts/literature/14-best-selling-books-repeatedly-rejected-by-publishers.htm

    Like

  2. Jane Watson October 26, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    A book is a collection of words written down on some medium – paper, parchment, clay tablet, Kindle, iPad etc. It is the words which are important, not the medium, and that people get to read those words, not how much they PAY for them…’mainstream publishers’ would like us to believe that only they can be the arbiter of what should be inscribed on one of these mediums and that only THEY can set the price. However if ‘mainstream publishers’ had been left to control this market in the past our culture would have suffered extraordinarily. They would have denied us James Joyce, Marcel Proust, Beatrix Potter, Margaret Atwood, Virginia Woolf, Leo Tolstoy and many more, and to this day we would not have had ‘The Diary Of Anne Frank’, ‘Catch 22’, ‘Animal Farm’, ‘Moby Dick’, the list goes on.

    How have we allowed ourselves to be so brainwashed by large companies intent on making money (and often failing if the track record above is anything to go by) into believing that they are somehow the experts? Who said they were? Who says a book should be sold for $22.95?

    Stories used to be sung by bards around the campfire to entertain and teach. They were passed on by word of mouth. No one got up and said: ‘Hang on a minute Beowulf is being sung for free or for only a glass of mead. That demeans it. Let’s not listen…’

    James Joyce’s first book, Dubliners, was rejected by mainstream publishing 22 times … you know the rest of the story…

    Like

  3. Martina Sevecke-Pohlen October 27, 2012 at 7:32 am

    The present discussion about self-publishing and its undermining of standards reminds me of the situation my husband faced in 2000 when he decided to start selling bicycle equipment on the internet. He was told a) nobody would buy online, b) he would ruin prices for shop owners, c) he would ruin prices for producers, d) service would suffer. Now there are lots of online shops, all doing business with customers who say they cannot find what they’re looking for at local shops and they prefer the prices and the service online shops offer.
    Who knows what changes will have come to publishing in 2024?

    Like

  4. Barbara Blackcinder October 28, 2012 at 3:28 am

    Quite clearly, it will be quite a while before the effect of self-publishing is really known on the industry, certainly after the damage current manipulators have done to it.

    Like

  5. Pingback: can teach about self publishing if you want authorwcharles@gmail.com | I WIN

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