It’s great that authors now have so many ways to publish their writing. There are still traditional publishers in addition to the booming on-line publishing possibilities and with the advent of sales outlets like Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Nobel, all within reach of your computer’s browser. Self publishing has never be easier.
Nor has it ever been more confusing or more in flux. Every week I read of “Indie Authors” who’ve made it big or who have had their books picked up by mainstream publishers and onto fame and glory.
At least that’s the dream isn’t it? Come on, in your deepest writer’s heart and most secret daydream aren’t you thinking up answers to Oprah’s questions for after you’ve been selected for the book of the month club?
Maybe that’s just me.
The sad fact is failure faces many who attempt to self-publish. It takes a lot to be successful and few writers are truly up to the challenge. First there is the writing, then the book design, the marketing, sales channels, arranging the press tour and so on. It’s daunting at the least and hard work at the best.
I am not saying that the traditional publisher route is any easier with obstacles like finding an agent, query letters, sending manuscripts, and dealing with near constant rejection. Sounds like fun right?
If you haven’t completely given up on writing by now, let me state some fears I have about self-publishing.
1. Writers will stop editing when they’re not forced to.
I’ve read a few self-published books. A few very good. Some okay, but most need the hand of a good editor. At least hire a copy editor folks. One thing a good publisher will do is to invest in editing and making sure the manuscript fits the market and is free from most errors. Too many self-publishers seem to think they can cut corners on this or somehow think their work doesn’t have problems.
2. All blogs will become sales platforms and I’ll be afraid to read them.
I swear that half the people who follow me on twitter are sales or marketing types hoping I’ll be so grateful for a follower that I’ll follow them back. You’d be surprised the number of new followers I get who are trying to sell something. Maybe you wouldn’t. And for those of you thinking of starting a “how to self-publish” website – it’s been done and I don’t need another blog post on how to set up my Create Space account.
3. The number of “How to Self-Publish” and “How to Make a Million with Your Blog,” websites, will hit 20 million by next Thursday.
4. The slush pile will move from the publishing houses editor’s desk to mine.
When you buy a book from a traditional publisher, you know that for every one they published, hundreds were read and discarded. Thousands more weren’t even read. Thank you editor for saving me from having to sort through a thousand books to find a good one. In the last year I’ve read six self-published books. I only recommend one. Two I couldn’t read all the way to the end. One I read all the way though because it was like watching a train wreck. You know, you can not watch the mayhem. Two I made notes of what not to do in my book.
Now traditional publishers do publish trash from time to time so I do have just one comment for them: You read a thousand books and published this trash? Dudes, please.
5. Publish scams and fraud will increase.
When you get large numbers of people thinking they can be a big success doing something, the con artists will move in. I’ve seen any number of websites selling publishing services you don’t need and the bad guys out to steal your money can smell desperation. They know how to pull your strings and separate you from your cash without giving anything in return. If you do go down the self-publishing route, watch out for offers that are too good to be true and do your research to find reputable people to deal with.
6. If people can publish their own books they’ll start making their own movies and TV shows.
Wait, that’s YouTube.
And a subject for another day.
Till next week,