Over at Nerds Feather, I make the broad point that I have sort of been building up to. I leave Howey out of it, for the most part, because he’s just the most visible part of the problem. That problem is, in itself, twofold:
- The Massive Slush Pile. With self-publishing, the reader takes the place of the agents and editors that sort through the piles of crap books. Neither system is perfect, for obvious reasons, but agents and editors get paid to put up with that. Readers shell out $3+ per book. Hardly seems fair, does it?
- Howey and his ilk tell people to publish and keep publishing. Now, I will tell people to write all day long. Some people who I have immense amounts of affection and respect for have cited me as inspiration to get them writing again. This is awesome, and I love it when people express themselves this way. Writing does not mean you should be published. When it’s published, it becomes more commercial product than art form (this does not imply selling out), and readers expect a quality product.
There is this statistic that gets bandied about, that something like 75-85% (depending on who you ask) of people ‘have a book in them’. No kidding. That’s great and everything, and by all means, write the book, but don’t publish it just because you can. Those gatekeepers exist for a reason; just because they can be circumvented does not mean they should.
Now, if you’re going to publish a book, I certainly wish you all the success in the world. This isn’t meant to discourage anyone from pursuing it. But make sure, if you are or want to pursue it, that you do it right– gather the facts, see what works and what doesn’t. Be prepared to invest time and money into it and know that when your manuscript is finished is when the work begins.