Self-Publishing: Is It Wrong?

In the writing world, people who write books can be classified as published and unpublished, and in the published category there’s the traditionally published and the self-published.  Now I hear that a good deal of the writers on a certain site believe that self-published writers are the ultimate sellout.  I’m not a member of this site, but I am friends with someone on it.  Considering my recent posts, I’d like to make it clear how I really feel about this issue.

Now, present-day traditionally published authors are writers that sent in manuscript after manuscript to publishers, over and over, for months or even years.  Each and every one probably collected enough rejection letters to wallpaper their bedroom with.  These people probably even went through several rewrites once a publisher did accept them, not to mention what editing they went through before-hand to polish their work.  In a nutshell, these writers not only finished a manuscript, they worked their butts off long after said manuscript was done in order to have it accepted and published.  These people earned the right to be called an author.

Self-published, as their names suggest, published themselves.  They contacted a company that sells books to the authors.  There was no rejection letters because the company makes money no matter how sellable the work is to the public.  Editing is even questionable because again, it doesn’t matter how palatable the work is as long as the author is willing to pay for it.  In this instance, the amount of work put in is indeterminate.  The only thing that can be said without a doubt is that an author was able to write semi-legible sentences and came to an end that they were satisfied with.  Beyond that there is no telling how much effort went into the product.

You see where there would be some conflict?  A self-published author could have barely skimmed their work for consistency, proper grammar, spelling, cohesion, etc. before sending it to the company that would then print it out and ship the books back.  This isn’t to say that all self-published writers are not talented, or that they all put in a bare minimum of effort.  I’m sure somewhere in the soup of people shelling out cash that one is legitimately good in their own respects and just needed a leg up into the publishing world.   However, there is a good number of writers that have self-published work that isn’t worth the lives of the trees they murdered to make them.  Some will pretend to be traditionally published.  Whether they do this to hide the fact that they didn’t or to try to impress others, I couldn’t tell you.  I don’t claim to have that much understanding of such people.

So is it wrong to self-publish?  I honestly can’t answer that.  There is a level of respect lost for those that do and then are picked up by a publisher.  Perhaps it is perceived that they didn’t go through as much hardship as the traditionally published, and therefore hadn’t grown as much as a writer because of it.  That would be my opinion, but in my case the loss of respect is marginal, especially for someone I’ve never met.  Those that don’t get picked up, well that may or may not reflect on their abilities, and again the loss of respect is marginal.  However, those that don’t own up being self-published or that put on a show of being traditionally published, especially when their work isn’t strong enough to hold up to their boasting, I lose more than respect for these.  It suggests at a very selfish and deceitful character, and whether I know them personally or not, I dislike this type of person very much. 

Call a spade a spade, and have done with it.  If you weren’t good enough, or not patient enough to get published, admit to it.  If you have such a problem with telling others that you self-published, maybe you shouldn’t have in the first place.   All I’m saying is honesty, even with people you don’t know is important.  Hell, we get after politicians for not being honest, but what do you do?  (“No honey, that dress doesn’t make you look fat!”,  “The teacher hates me!”) Need I go on?

If my blog should offend anyone, don’t expect an apology.  Because you’re probably one of the third types of self-published authors.  At least I’m being honest.


About Cici Brown
I'm a happily married mother of two and a half. I'm usually pretty bubbly and in some cases, according to my husband, too open about everything. I am and always will be a gamer geek, though I haven't table-top roleplayed for many years. I still manage to hit an MMO or two. My interests include most things geek and Vampire fiction, though not the sparkly kind, that's not vampire fiction. I have goals towards publishing that have yet to be fulfilled but one day...

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