Self pub or traditional?

There’s a bit of a rift, which one should you do?

I know successful self-published writers and I know successful traditional published writers. I know self-pubbed who used to be traditionally published, and I know trad writers who did some self pub.

Not so clear, those lines.

Both are valid. Both have pros and cons. I went self-pubbed.

Some argue that I’m trying for the quick high, the vanity of my name in print ( as if traditionally done books have no name on the cover), that I’m trying to ursurp the system that properly keeps all us wanton writers from causing mayhem. That we’re afraid of rejection. That we don’t edit or care about our craft.

And to that, I say no. I care. I edit. A lot. I work on my craft. I care what the finished product will be like. I just don’t care for some arbitrary gatekeeper on my work, whereas, if I were a musician, I’d be an “indie darling” or a “freelance photographer” or I can call myself a jeweler without being attached to some big name brand.

I dabbled in the traditional game and found it didn’t suit the story I wanted ( for paranormal romance I would have had to strip out much of the fluid sexuality of the characters, and give the happy ever after, for horror I would have had to add more violence and shock and gore for showmanship, essentially.) I didn’t want to do that. I didn’t want to hand over my work to some third party that would have sat on it for how long, to tell me it wasn’t what they think the readers wanted.

I really did lose all patience and respect for trad. publishing when they started churning out the autobiographies of drunken halfwit reality stars, or worse recently, a collection of one’s “best selfies”. Then, picking up fanfic off sites and barely changing the veneer of fanfic, and turning that loose under the guise of legitimate big publisher.

So I’m not entirely sold on the wonder of traditional publishing as the end all and be all and without it you’re some sad gibbering hack in the corner who longs for their name in lights.

I just wasn’t interested in what they offered. I had nibbles of interest, but I was asked to fundamentally change a character in a way that would not have been right.

I’ve read old school trad. pub sci fi that would not pass the slush pile now. Mysteriously one title that forever escapes my memory as an act of mercy, the author declined to describe any female character with regards to anything above the neckline. Yes. He described them by the attributes of their tits.

There are predatory vanity presses, but we didn’t do that. I fail to see why one can be an indie artist now, an indie musician, and even an indie acrobat if that suits but when it comes to matters of authorial merit, there’s an insistence on being “vetted.’

I’ll do my best with the books ( and if I ever earn enough! I’ll happily pay an editor and until then I’ll just do what I can).

But to tell me I’m some sad masturbatory hack with fits of jealousy and no talent and getting rightly shut out? Nah. I stepped OUT of that game. I respect my friends who’ve been published traditionally, and non traditional.

Its not an either or, it’s two paths to the same route.I get annoyed when I’m told I need to fall in line and start playing by rules that even the traditional publishers ignore when it serves them.


  • Lynn says:

    I think indie publishing has gotten rid of all the gatekeepers, which is a good thing. Writers no longer have to wait years (or, like in my case, decades) to reach readers; they can do it with the click of a button. Industry-wise, I think the next twenty years are going to be very interesting. 🙂

  • nico says:

    Definitely, it’s going to get interesting.

    There are downsides to the DIY thing. The whole…DIY, when you’re scouring for permissions for your cover art, or downing more coffee and wondering HOW more typos appeared overnight when you slept.

    There’s a certain freedom in handing that off to someone else.

    Maybe the two paths will find a happy medium.

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