First, help me celebrate the fact that Ramsey Hunt symptoms are decreasing. I have days where I can spend up to an hour at a time on the computer and actually wrote 500 words this week on my book, Evelyn Evolving. That felt so good! I hope to get back to some kind of regular blogging, too, but no promises at this point.
I’m a fan of Kristen Lamb, and her blog We Are Not Alone. In a recent blog, she addressed some myths about self publishing that I thought were worth sharing. She is always happy to let us share her blog material, and I thank her for that generosity and her great author support. Here is what she wrote:
All forms of publishing hold advantages and disadvantages and, as a business, we are wise to consider what form of publishing is best for our writing, our work, our goals, our personality, etc. But my goal has always been to educate writers so they are making wise decisions based off data, not just personal preferences.
We don’t self-publish because all our friends are doing it and we think we can make a million dollars fast cash. But, at the same time, we shouldn’t hold out for traditional out of some misguided idea that self-publishing/indie isn’t for “real” authors and that traditional publishers are somehow going to handhold us.
The author of this article has the right to publish as she sees fit. I am all for empowering authors and trust me, Iknow that self-publishing gets a bad rap for good reasons. I am not blind to all the book spam and authors who write ONE book and camp on top of it for the next five years selling to anyone who looks at them.
But there were some egregious errors in many of the article’s assertions that I’d like to address so that your decision is based of reality not an opinion piece. I won’t address them all today for the sake of brevity, but here were the major ones that jumped out at me.
Myth #1—Serious Novelists Don’t Self-Publish
Tell that to Hugh Howey, Bob Mayer, Barry Eisler, Joel Eisenberg, Vicki Hinze, Theresa Ragan and y’all get the point.
Myth #2—Self-Publish and ALL Time Will Be Spent Marketing Not Writing
Or maybe they’re doing it wrong?
Myth #3—If You Self-Publish You Will Act Like an Amway Rep Crossed with a Jehovah’s Witness
Many do, but that’s a choice not an inevitability.
Myth #4—Gatekeepers Know Best
LOL. Sure. Because Snookie’s It’s A Shore Thing was published for its literary value.
Myth #5—Private Apprenticeship is Better for Author Growth
Public feedback can be brutal and isn’t for everyone, but rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic in private isn’t necessarily a better, nobler path either.
Myth #6—Awards Are Everything
For some genres, perhaps. But can the literary world keep ignoring that some of the best works of our time are not coming from legacy presses?
Myth #7—To Look Pro in Self-Publishing You Spend a Fortune
Myth #8—Traditional Publishing Creates a Far Superior Product
Tell that to the romance authors who, for years, couldn’t expect that the cover would match their story. Pyramids on a romance set in the Highlands? It has happened.
Vonda McIntre (who is a brilliant Nebula Award Winning Author) has even posted some of the really awful covers her publisher (traditional) thought were a good idea. And, because she was a mere author and had no control over the covers? She had no say.
Myth #9—Self-Published Authors Can’t Make a Living
Many don’t. This job is not for everyone. But then again, most traditional authors would make more flipping burgers.
Myth #10—Amazon & Self-Publishing Have Destroyed Author Incomes
Definitely a NO. For the first time in history more authors are making a living wage than ever before. Mega-bookstores like Barnes & Noble did more to damage author incomes than almost any other factor. They almost single-handedly destroyed the bookstore ecosystem, and many writers who were making a good living suddenly were forced to get a day job if they liked eating.
Writers, do you agree with Kristen? I do on many points, but disagree about the bookstores being the culprit when it came to writers not making a good living. The publishers were the ones who destroyed the mid-list and cast writers aside if they weren’t at the top of the publishing pyramid.