Sunday, April 29, 2012

Self-Publishing Prejudice (a mini-rant)

I was talking to a photographer last week about the use of one of her photos for the cover of one of my books. She was interested until she found out I'm self-published and only e-publish right now (no print). I haven't heard from her since. Same thing happened with a model I was talking to a while back. There was lots of interest on his part until he found out that I am self-published and currently have a small budget.

I guess these two determined I wasn't important enough to waste their time on. Or maybe they assumed that as a self-published author, I'm not good enough to be in print. They haven't even read my work, but for whatever reason made assumptions about my abilities and stopped talking to me. And they're not the only ones. There is a purveying opinion that self-published authors aren't good enough to get into print, and that only crappy writers go the route of self-publishing.

And that's not the case.

Let me point out the fallacies of this line of thinking:

1) Print publishing is going the way of the dinosaur, so anyone NOT looking at e-publishing isn't tapped in to the trends and, in my opinion, setting themselves up to fail.

2) My decision to self-publish was a conscious business decision. I could have taken my AKM novels to an e-publisher or marketed them to a big print publisher. I have been told my writing is good enough to get an agent and be in print (a published author who was my writing instructor for two years told me this), but why would I want to go that route? It would take a minimum of two years to get picked up by an agent and a publisher, and for my books to finally end up on a sales rack somewhere. And then I would be lucky to see $1 for every $10 sold. And I would have to bend to the creative whims of the publisher, thus losing creative control over my work. As a self-published author, I maintain all creative control. I determine the price point and when to put my work on sale. In two years, I can have 16 pieces published (unlike the 1 I'd have published through a print publisher). I have a more direct hand in the entire process than I would with a publisher. And the kicker? I make anywhere from $5-$8.50 for every $10 sold. It's just smarter all around for me to self-publish. And being unemployed, I don't have two years to wait for a print publisher to get off their ass and take me on. I won't put out crappy work, but I can sure put out more work self-publishing than going with a print publisher.

3) If I am good enough to be in print, a print publisher will discover me while I'm e-publishing/self-publishing. They do look for what I've seen them refer to as "cream that rises to the top." If I am cream, they will find me. If I'm not, then I'll keep doing what I'm doing, because I do it well, with or without a print publisher backing me. Many self-published authors have been discovered by print publishers and now find their books in print. One day that could be me, and where will those naysayer photographers and models be then? Eating crow, I would imagine.

What just irks me is that there is this underlying attitude that if an author self-publishes, they aren't good. They suck. They're crap. And that's just not the case. Not anymore. Once upon a time, vanity presses churned out that kind of rubbish. Oh sure, you still find poorly-written self-published works, but you also find extremely well-written self-published works. There are self-published diamonds just waiting for a Big Six print publisher to discover them.

To automatically assume that everyone who self-publishes sucks is short-sighted and ignorant. For me, it was a calculated and conscious business decision. Anyone who wants to assume the worst about me and my talents will get left behind. Because I'll make it with or without them.


  1. Donya, I'm sorry to hear about your troubles. I'm actually surprised these people didn't want to work with you. After all, a paycheck's a paycheck, right? To have them turn their noses up at it is ridiculous. Stay positive. Your work will speak for itself.

  2. Thanks, T.A.

    And it was free advertising for them. I was willing to promote them everywhere, but oh well. I'm over it now. The proof is in the pudding, as they say. I just have to keep doing what I do and it will all work out in the end. :)

    Thanks for stopping by my blog again, too. :)

  3. Hello again Donya,
    Yes it’s me again, not stalking you....honest
    I read your mini-rant over lunch today in work and I thought I would come home and let you know how e-books and my Kindle have changed the way I read.
    I have been an avid reader all my life and have a great love for books. Over the years I have consumed probably 48 years young and 2 or 3 books a week, I will let you do the maths!!!!!
    As you probably know feeding this hunger for the written word can be quite expensive!? The Local Library was good, although the fines I incurred for late returns and the fact that they didn’t always have what I wanted became tedious. So swapping with friends and the usual special offers on the bestsellers shelf in the supermarket or local bookshop (3 for 2 etc) became the norm. Christmas and birthdays were always good for that special new release that you desperately wanted and simply must have.
    Well, now we get to the good part.......almost 2 years ago, my husband.....bless him, bought me an e-reader for my birthday.......Yey!!!
    This is by far the best gift I have ever been given in my life.
    I now have books at my finger tips whenever and wherever I want, no waiting and no running out of reading material.
    But, and this is a very big BUT. The most impressive reason for the fact that I am so in love with my Kindle is that it has opened up a whole new world for me.............. and that world, is that of the Indie author.
    I have read and discovered fabulous authors, whom would have otherwise remained anonymous to me and genres of books I possible would not have previously read.
    This is mainly due to ease of purchase and availability at competitive prices, sometimes reduced or free for promotional periods. When you are following a series or author, as a reader this is a great gift in itself.
    So Donya I have read self published authors on my e-book who have gone onto be published and in a strange way as a fan it makes me very proud that I was possibly there at the beginning loving their books and still loving them.
    After reading your book, I have no doubt that you too will go onto get the credit you deserve.

    1. I love having stalkers like you, Monique. LOL. And thank you for those awesome words of encouragement. One day the AKM novels will be in print. I just know it. :) And you are so right. The advent of e-readers has altered the course of publishing. It's still "new" technology, but e-books outsell print books by 10 to 1 (according to a recent statistic I saw). I feel like we're just on the cusp of a publishing revolution. Happy reading! :)

  4. Donya, I must say that anyone who denies you because you are a self-published e-published writer doesn't know talent. I have read everything you've written so far...including when you roleplayed on facebook. You are an amazing writer and I love reading everything you write. Don't let these self-absorbed types get to you. They don't realize that untapped talent such as yours is worth so much more than any amount of money they could hope for. They are the ones that are going to regret their decision, not you. And I hope that when they see who and what they passed up, they come groveling to you for a second chance. Not that they deserve it. You are amazing and keep it going. You have become an inspiration to me and my best friend to keep writing and hopefully publish ourselves.

    (You know me better by my roleplaying accounts...I'll message you from there so you know who this is.)

  5. Ooooh, now I'm intrigued. :) I have a feeling I know who this is. And thank you for your kind words and for following me for so long. *happy smile*