Come Out Swinging

Because, why not? Let’s just put everyone who hates self-publishing in one corner, and everyone who hates traditional publishing in the other, and have them beat the everloving crap out of each other so they will all finally shut up and we can have some actual progress. In the middle will be Hugh Howey, so he gets double beat up.

We’ll sell tickets. It’ll be grand.

I get it, though. Everyone always wants their way to work, to be the best. And, hey, that’s great. Share what works (and more importantly, what doesn’t). But I think we’re losing focus on what this whole thing is about: getting books into reader’s hands. There is a lot more too it, but those are details. When we- ‘we’ as authors, ‘we’ as publishers, editors, et cetera, start pushing agendas instead of focusing on that goal, well, this crap happens. The machine stalls, and no real progress is made.

The Platonic ideal lies somewhere in the middle, I’m sure, but no one wants to talk about that, or give any ground. If someone comes to me and says “Hey, Dean, I’ll print, distribute, edit and market your book(s) for you and here’s fifty thousand dollars (or, hell, five. I’m easy) up front and then we’ll give you fifty percent”, guess what? I’m taking it. Because damn if that crap isn’t a lot of work I don’t really want to do.

And the alternative is paying someone, and that adds up fast (this is to say nothing of choosing who to hire). And if you do hire someone(s), guess what? You run a publishing company.

If you’re ‘traditionally’ published, read your damn contract. I have heard, first-hand, not some rumor, of publishing companies not holding up their end of the bargain. If you, the author, are having to do everything yourself, then do it yourself. But if not… why the hell would you?

If something works for you, by all means, share it and talk about it. But don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s the only way.


One thought on “Come Out Swinging

  1. Holly Robinson says:

    Great post, Dean! I’m a hybrid author, so I have a foot in both camps. For now, I’m with Penguin and loving the fact (as you point out here) that I get an advance against royalties. Yes, the royalties are less than what I would get if I self-published (I know that from experience), but I didn’t have the deep pockets I needed to hire editors, copy editors, and publicists, and I’d rather be writing than doing all that anyway, so this works for me for now. So much depends on what genre you’re writing in, how fast you work, whether you can even find an agent & editor who work well with you, etc. Really, three cheers for any of us who manage to get our books out there. We should all support one another, bottom line, because it’s tough to be an artist in this culture in any way, shape, or form.

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