Turns out that today I have something to say about self publishing. This is an area I try not to get into lively debates about, but if you know me and bring this up, chances are I will be flat out with you. I like the gatekeeper process.
I have a group of critic partners. They offer amazing insight into our groups writing. It is certainly as valuable and experience for me to receive critic as it is to give it. We will sit down and go through what worked and what didn’t and we will often help brainstorm ideas on improvement. This is great. I think everyone should go through this. It prepares them to accept that the work needs more work. That is still not done yet.
But I firmly believe that after you go back and fix it to the best of your damned abilities, it is time to go off and find an agent. I’m also of the opinion that I want an agent who edits. I want her to go through it and say this either works or it doesn’t. I want the ability to be pushed even further and harder down my route to publication.
And then I want an editor to do the same thing. Go through it again and push me even further.
I want to push myself to be the best-damned author I can be, but I can’t always do that on my own. I need an outside set of fresh eyes. I want to come out of that gate with the best foot forward, having someone who works in the industry and understands books and is passionate it about them, who also has a financial interest in me, to help me get to that place I want to be.
Critic partners are invaluable. However they are but one tool in your arsenal. I want to cultivate many tools.
And so you can see for me, the thing about being a self pub is that you are skipping at least two very important steps in my eyes. I’m left then to wonder, if what you are asking me to read and pay money for is then the best damned quality if can be, or if you just through your hands up in the air and said its good enough.
I have heard of the success stories through self pub. Heck I have a good friend who is currently rocking that boat. Kudos to him. He has found his fan base and is happy with where he is.
I have another friend who was told that her book would never find the right market. She too also chose self publication. She plays close attention to her world building detail and consequently spends a lot of time thoughtfully crafting her work. She is a good writer.
Like every story there are acceptations to the rule. But for the most part, both my time and money are precious. So when I shill out not just the cost of your book but the hours it will take to read it, I want to know that what I am getting has gone through the stages of due diligence. That is has been made the best it can possible be, not just because you mommy said so (because lets face it mothers thinks we are awesome no matter what), but because a third party with fresh eyes and a vested interest in your work, has gone through and pushed you to be better, work harder.
Also, for myself, it is about having that validation, that cred from the professionals.
A few other people have been touching on this subject lately so I’m gonna send you off to go and frolic at their blogs to pounder how you feel:
6 Reasons Authors Still Want Publishers (http://www.rachellegardner.com/2012/04/reasons-authors-still-want-publishers/)
6 Reasons Authors Self-Pub (http://www.rachellegardner.com/2012/04/6-reasons-authors-self-publish/)
indie vs traditional publishing: notes from a Big 6 book deal (http://internspills.blogspot.ca/2012/03/indie-vs-traditional-publishing-notes.html)
Big 6 versus Indie Publishing part 2: of paddles and canoes (http://internspills.blogspot.ca/2012/04/big-6-versus-indie-publishing-part-2-of.html)
P.S. Have a mentioned that I don’t want to have to make decisions regarding a cover for my book, or marketing, or how to get it in print and in bookstores because I don’t have that kind of pull, or the extra up front financial costs of going self pub. I want someone who knows what they are doing guiding this boat. I may be a control freak, but I do know when someone with more skills should be at the helm of the boat as opposed to me.