Thursday, January 31, 2008

Self Publishing Is A Bad Idea

It's been shown many, many times on lots of authors' blogs, but here it is very briefly:

- Your work is not properly edited; therefore it reads like crap.
- It is not properly designed, especially as to cover art and layout; therefore it looks like crap, too.
- It will not be properly marketed, no matter how hard you try; therefore it sells like crap.
- You will pay for your writing to be printed, rather than getting paid for it.

A corollary: the fact that your work is rejected should tell you something, and that something is NOT that you've been unfairly excluded and discriminated against, but that you need to keep working on your writing and resubmit it over and over until you get accepted, fair and square, the old fashioned way.

And even though it's been shown many times, someone like
this again comes along and loudly and proudly proclaims his/her self-published credits and how the big shot, fat cats in NYC publishing are quaking in their alligator-skin boots at the publishing "revolution" s/he is going to unleash on them! Then someone like this makes a laughingstock out of the person. The person finds the thread (or, more likely, is directed there by someone trying to stir up trouble), jumps in, and more hijinks ensue, including threats and counter-threats of legal action.

11 Comments:

OpenID sabledrake said...

It is a bad idea ... and I'm trying really super-duper hard not to do it anymore ... except with the kids' books ... but those don't count ... and if ever I turn into one of those whiny entitlement queens, please smack me upside the head.

Unrelated question: do you happen to know if they're sending a HISTORY IS DEAD to Ellen Datlow? It'd be great to see some of us get a mention! :)

10:52 PM  
Blogger KPaffenroth said...

Oh, Christine, please know there's nothing in the post that could be directed at you. You are really coming along as a writer and I think you'll soon have the recognition and credits you deserve.

Ellen most definitely has a copy of History. I mentioned it somewhere on the Permuted board. So all your stories are up for Year's Best!

7:35 AM  
Anonymous Rich Ristow said...

So the consensus is: It's crap!

Good post, Dr. Paffenroth. To the point, distilled down, and very, very true.

9:51 AM  
Anonymous Mike Brendan said...

Truer words were never said. And as far as that thread on O-Dark, you could set the Benny Hill theme to it for all the lulz it's brought about.

10:44 AM  
Blogger KPaffenroth said...

And I should've specified: if you've done some great research on Medieval beekeeping (the example used on another blog) and what to share it with other enthusiasts, then no one will make fun of your self-publishing efforts. It's not the *act* of self-publishing per se that is worthy of derision - it's the posturing as a transgressive, cutting-edge, bad-boy revolutionary that grows tiresome so quickly.

10:53 AM  
OpenID flamesrising said...

You make it sounds like you are stating an absolute fact.

Are you really implying that all self-published books are poorly editing and designed like crap?

Sure, I'll agree that _most_ self-published books fall into this group, but not all.

There are a few folks doing self-publishing that put some effort into design and are not drama queens/kings.

1:28 PM  
Blogger KPaffenroth said...

This is usually how the argument goes, isn't it?

"Some self-published books are good!" (Okay. But it's still a stigma is the point.)

"Some traditionally published books are bad." (Yup, no argument there.)

But traditional publishing is designed to weed out crap (and succeeds some of the time). Self publishing is designed to maximize crap (and succeeds most of the time). Exceptions aren't going to change this.

2:29 PM  
OpenID flamesrising said...

I guess my POV is off a bit because most of my background is from the gaming industry where there are quite a few high-quality "indie" publishers.

These are usually author-owned operations where they may contract out editing and art but do most of the writing/game design on their own.

2:50 PM  
Blogger KPaffenroth said...

Games I don't know how it works. I'm also told that it's not the same as garage bands that burn their own CDs. But there again, I don't know the industry.

4:17 PM  
OpenID sabledrake said...

I know it's not aimed at me, Kim ... I'm just wallowing in guilt by association :) Same as with the fanfic. Oh the shame!

I stand by the headsmack request, though, should I start acting like one of *those* people.

My writing, I take seriously. My ego, not so much. Delusions of grandeur are bad, m'kay!

4:30 PM  
Blogger A.P. Fuchs said...

All I'll say is that The Next Generation Writers' way of doing things isn't the right way to go about this. I appreciate the vision (I'm pro-indy publishing), but to whine and gripe on a Myspace page isn't the way to go about it. If you want to be taken as a serious and professional indy author and/or publisher, you need to act like one. That's the starting point. That's what divides the wannabes from the got-to-bes.

And good post, Kim. By and large, self-publishing isn't a good idea. Yes, as you stated, there are exceptions. But, yeah, mostly what is churned out is why self-publishing has the stigma it does.

It's not for everyone. I personally enjoy it (though I traditionally publish short stories now and then), but have also learned that it's just plain hard. You need to really go hardcore with this stuff if you want your book to make more than just a few bucks.

Anyway, it's late and I'm off to wind down.

Later.

11:46 PM  

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