Self Publishing

I read a book the other day that was self published. First, I just want to say that I have no problem with people who want to self publish. I knew a girl in college who self published a book of astrology, and I think that is awesome. Great for her.

The problem I do have with self publishing is from the people who decide to self publish a book that isn’t good. Not even just not good, but horrendous.This is the problem I had with the book I was reading.

Now, the plot was interesting enough to keep me going. It could have been better, but it was decent. My main problem was with their continuous typos, grammatical errors, and unrealistic dialogue. And the cliches! There were at least 5 on every page! And I’m pretty sure these issues would irk even someone who wasn’t a writer.

I read a piece on yesterday titled: “How to Become an Author, in 5 Incredibly Difficult Steps” and I just want to say that if you want to become an author read this piece, because it is 100% true. Well, I can’t completely say that about the publishing part, because I’ve never been published, but about the actual writing process I can say it is. Self publishing makes me feel like the author is cheating. I know that’s not fair to say, but that’s how I feel. I mean, I could go and self publish any one of the books I’ve written (once they were finished, that is). But I don’t, and here’s why:

I was told by a friend not to. Specifically, she said: “And I do not want you to self published, because you are better than that.” Or something along those lines.

And I don’t just feel like they’re cheating because they’re taking the easy way out for publishing. They are cheating because they do not get the experience. Going through publishing houses and editors helps teach writers how to write. You just have to continuously edit a piece over and over and over until your eyes bleed and you can’t stand to look at it any more. I feel that self publishers are missing out on one of the greatest experiences of writing.

So, if you’re going to self publish: learn to write first. If you know how to write already, good for you. That’s half the battle. Then find someone who edits and get them to look at it. Editing is the other half of the battle. If by the time you’re done all this and you still want to get it published I suggest looking into publishing first. Don’t just automatically go to self publishing because it’s the easy way to do things. Trust me. You’ll benefit from the experience.

Disclaimer: This post was written for those people who think publishing a book is easy. It is not meant to offend anyone who has been self published before. That was your choice, and this is mine.

3 thoughts on “Self Publishing

  1. I’m sorry you had a bad experience with a self-published book, and I know that a good proportion of them are just bad. Because self-publishing makes it easy for even semi-literates to produce books. But writing isn’t easy, and self-publishing isn’t the cause of bad writing. Most people can’t write worth a darn. As someone who has been refining my writing skills over the years, and started writing fiction a couple of years ago, I know what goes into the development of a readable book. And I self-published my first novel a few days ago. Believe me, spending years submitting your work doesn’t teach you how to write. Only if you’re lucky enough to find a good editor will you learn anything about writing. And you already have to be a fairly decent writer before any agent or editor will touch you. I’ve read a lot of wonderful books by people who’ve self-published, and even some that exist only on the web in unpublished form. Self-publishing makes it easier for incompetents to be published. It also makes it easier for good writers who don’t have the time and energy to run the gauntlet of traditional publishing, who want to control what happens to their books, and who want to be paid fairly for their hard work instead of giving most of it away to middlemen.

    • That is true. I hadn’t really thought of it in that sense, but like I said if writers want to pursue self publishing they should do it, especially if they are excellent writers who do not have the time and energy to deal with publishers/editors (as you said in the end of your comment). But I still think if a writer wants to self publish they should still have someone look it over before they do it, just so they have a fresh pair of eyes look at it. I know how hard writing is because I’ve done it almost my entire life. I went to school for it. I love it, and I hate it. I think for me going through the route of a publisher would be better, even if it is the tougher route. But, it really is all up to the writer and how they want to go through to getting published.

  2. I have no argument at all about having someone (qualified) look at a book with a critical eye. I’m an experienced writer, but early readers and then a beta reader made a lot of difference in the final product. I’m still not completely satisfied with it, but it’s better than the majority of self-published books, and the next one will be better yet. Learning to write is a years-long process that never really ends, and i know I’m at the early end of it. Like you, I love it and I hate it. But it’s worth doing as well as I possibly can.

    If you want to go the traditional route, I wish you all the luck in the world. But it’s getting harder all the time. Eventually, you may decide to take the self-publishing path. Either way, it’s an uphill fight to distinguish yourself in a sea of crap.

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