…And Other Myths.
Although self-publishing has come a long way since its very humble beginnings, attitudes and misconceptions still linger — particularly in the UK. In America, agents scour Kindle best-selling lists for new clients and encourage existing clients to self-publish; NYT best-selling writers choose to go out on their own; and authors are successful in both traditional and self-publishing spheres.
In Britain, though, self-publishing is still viewed by some with suspicion and trepidation — a sense that successful indie authors are bleeding traditional publishing dry by setting low prices for poor-quality work; that the whole thing is a trend that will soon dry up, leaving the rogues penniless.
As a UK author who has recently left a traditional publisher to self-publish her latest novel, it’s safe to say I am very tired of the constant negativity and scepticism I face when I talk about self-publishing. So, although I realise I’m preaching to the converted here, I’d love to debunk a few myths that sadly still abound.
Self-publishing is easy. Oh lordy, I wish this were true. Having control is great, but it’s also very scary. If your book doesn’t sell, it’s down to you -- no more passing the buck to your publisher. There are also five zillion details to deal with, not to mention getting to grips with promotion, hiring editors and cover designers, keeping track of expenses for tax purposes, setting yourself up as a business, staying on top of developments in the industry… I could go on, but I’ll stop there. Self-publishing is not the easy option, by a long shot. It takes a lot of mental fortitude and courage to go out on your own.
Self-published novels are poor quality. While it’s very true that some self-published novels could do with a very good edit, tarnishing everything with the same brush is as bad as me saying ‘all romance novels are silly bodice rippers’. We rail against genre snobbery, so why should we indulge snobbery against indie authors? Although typos are pesky little buggers, I hire a professional editor to look at my work, and I know many other indie writers do, too. Self-published does not equal poor quality.
People who self-publish only do so because they couldn’t get their work traditionally published. Wrong. Self-publishing is a choice, not a last resort. I left my traditional publisher because I wanted to, not because I had to, and I’m not alone in this.
Self-published novels in the Top 100 are only there because they’re cheap. Oh, this one bothers me. Many traditionally published novels are priced cheaply, too, and they’re nowhere near the top 100.
Self-published authors are just looking for a quick buck. Okay, I’ll be honest and say that money definitely factored into my decision to leave my publisher. After all, why would I continue to only earn a royalty when I could take a larger cut? But a quick buck, no. I’m looking to make this into a career; to build a readership. Money is nice, but I prefer readers.
Your turn: what self-publishing myth would you like to see busted?