I won’t try to deny that there are great books that are self published, or terrible books that are traditionally published. Both are true. The great self published books are all-too-often hard to find, and the terrible traditionals are much to easy to pick up. It’s a sad situation for an avid reader and a confusing one for a writer.
As a writer, I was raised reading traditionally published (traditional, from here on out) books. I still read mostly traditional books. This isn’t because I have anything against self-published books. Well, maybe I do, which isn’t fair. Most of those authors work just as hard (if not harder in promoting themselves) as any traditional author. But I also see too much about someone writing a book, thinking the first draft is gold, and self-publishing right away. I believe that this harms the authors who do put in the work of polishing their novel to get it ready for readers. Why? Because in the end, readers have to wade through all the “first draft books” to get to the gold. And from my own experience, it’s not something we keep at for long. (If you have found the self published gold, please let me know because I want to read it!)
I’m not sure how we combat that either, because just as many poor novels are published traditionally. And that isn’t even my Big Qualm with self-publishing – it’s my qualm with lazy writers. We have a duty to our readers, whether it is one person or one million.
My Big Qualm* with self publishing is the feeling of unfinishedness. When we as writers have the ability to go back and change the story or make additions or edits for “new editions” – how is that any different from a draft (albeit with beta readers)? How can we call it finished? I know that if I were to self publish, I would never let the story go and thus I would never write anything new. Not everyone feels this way and I am glad for that – different opinions make the world go ’round.
What are your thoughts? If you self-published could you let the story go?
*I also have little qualms with self publishing. Like the feeling of worthiness. My brother sent me a link to Amazon self publishing when I finished my first novel. I think he was trying to be supportive, but it came across as “ha, you wrote a stupid story and you want it published, well no one will take it so here, do it yourself.” I know that this is, likely, just a me thing coming from my background, which is why I didn’t include it in the bulk of the post, but it just goes to show that lots of things influence a person’s decision, whether real or fictional! Now get back to writing! 😉