Yesterday I went on a little bit of a rant regarding how some people talk endlessly about self-publishing, with little or no actual information such as how to tell a good story, how to edit or market or anything else that might actually be useful to the author. This is frustrating to no end, because it creates division where there should be none, this line in the sand between self and traditional publishing that simply should not exist.
The largest problem is not that you can make money self-publishing- everyone knows that- but recognition. If you’re self-published and looking to get people to review your book, how often do you see some variant of “we do not review self-published works at this time“. And you rage and think why not?! My book is every bit as good as any traditional book, and certainly better than Twilight. Maybe it is. But the book on the digital shelf next to yours probably isn’t- because it’s all one giant slush pile, and readers are supposed to sort through that.
Now, that’s certainly possible, and I have made the argument that it’s a good thing- the cream will rise to the top via more reader involvement, but for the vast majority who just want to grab a book and steal a few moments from real life to read, is that the best thing in the world? To be agitated and annoyed that you grabbed what is billed as the next Lord of the Rings only to find that the author doesn’t know what an apostrophe is for?
If you really care about self-publishing as a viable and sustainable method of publishing, work to make it better, not bigger. Help improve the quality of the works that are distributed that way. If you want to hitch your wagon to it at the exclusion of everything else, that’s your deal. But don’t hail it as a get-rich-quick method that requires no real effort beyond simply writing a manuscript. Make it better and address the issues that are actually issues.