Monday, September 20, 2010

My Views on Self-Publishing

My reasons for not going for self-publishing (just yet) are:
  1. I firmly believe my book is good enough to find a publisher.
  2. An agent and especially an editor can make it better – more so than I could by myself.
  3. When I find an agent and/or publisher for it, I’ll know it’s not slush, meaning
  4. readers won’t be confronted with slush but instead will (probably) enjoy it, which will
  5. counteract the impending slush-wave which is promoted by self-publishing and which is threatening to drown readers in disappointing stories.

I read a terrific article not too long ago on point #5, but of course now can’t find it anymore. If and when I do, I’ll post the link here. If I remember correctly, it discusses parts of David Niall Wilson’s article on ‘Some Thoughts on Book Promotion and Publishing’.

10/18/10 Found it here

I’m not saying that I’ll never consider self-publishing; I’m not a saint. If in five years time I’ve found no agent or publisher for any of my writing, I might – as a writer – be tempted by the ease of getting my books out there by self-publishing. As a reader I’m begging my writer-self never to consider it, since the reader in me hopes to never be subjected to the slush-wave that promises to roll over us if everybody who thinks him/herself a writer thrusts his/her work on the unsuspecting public. From what I’ve heard and read, there are huge amounts of slush – hair-raising, brain-frying slush – being submitted to agents around the world every day. Imagine all this slush made available to readers, without even a spell-check or grammar-screening. Imagine working through all this slush just to find the stray story-gem – it’d be akin to going through the brimful laundry basket, searching for that one clean sock that might have been thrown in accidentally with the dirty ones. Except, no matter how much effort you put into washing, scrubbing and ironing them, these particular dirty slush-socks will never be good enough to wear; nay, they don’t even resemble socks anymore – too many holes.
Of course, readers have a way of getting the word out there that a book is good or bad: the rating stars on Amazon are only one example of how it can be done. But even these ratings, as David Niall Wilson explains in his article, can be faked or circumvented.
Ergo, I, the reader, beg myself, the writer, not to contribute to the slush-wave, and to accept a (possible future) defeat with dignity, but also without shame – at least I’ll have tried.

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