You would notice that the title has the word “self” capitalized. I hope you wonder why, cause that would be my “hook” :). This post, as you might have so intelligently concluded is – Self publishing. Now a lot has been said about this topic, and I will happily share some of the more intelligent words that were posted about the subject.

We had a long discussion about self publishing in my satellite group, and there were many good things to say about it. If you read about publishing in general and pay attention to the changes this industry has gone through in recent years, you will likely consider going that route, or at the very least give it some thought.

Before we continue, does anyone NOT know what self publishing is? I see a hand or two raised, so let’s define “self publishing” as publishing your work without the aid of a publishing house. There are many ways to do this, and you can refer to some of the links I added to this post if you’re interested in getting to know them.

Let’s look at some of the main “pros” of self publishing (I won’t pretend to list, or even know, all):

1. Artistic control – Since no one “approves” your work, and no one says “No you cannot publish this”, you are pretty much free to do as you please. Write whatever you want and HOWever you want and then go through some simple steps, and voila! You are a PUBLISHED writer. Whether it’s fiction, a “How-to” or a collection of erotic poetry – YOU are in FULL control of the contents.

2. Cost – It doesn’t cost much, and sometime it’s completely FREE to self publish. You are not committed to buy a quota of books. You don’t have to pay any intermediary to publish for you. YOU ARE the publisher.

3. It’s FAST – No need to wait for anyone. It’s there for you whenever you’re ready.

4. Since the business has changed, and publishing houses will not promote your work as they did in the past, and have no mistake – you WILL have to do a lot of promo work even with a publisher behind you, you might as well skip that step of going through them and do it ALL yourself.

Let’s look at some of the main “cons” of self publishing (I won’t pretend to list, or even know, all):

1. It’s hardYes, you have to do it ALL by yourSELF… No one to give you deadlines. No one to go to but yourSELF.
2. Promo – How many of us really UNDERSTAND how to market anything? let alone an artistic piece…
3. Artistic control – If there ever was a double-edged sword – there it is! You know what is one of the most popular lines traditional publishers will have about self publishing? Here it is – “We (The publishers) are filtering all the garbage that comes to us, and making sure that the public is exposed to high quality work”. Now I can hear the sneers at the back from some self published writers. No, they can’t possibly mean you, do not worry. BUT (and that’s one big-ass BUT) IS there SOME truth to this irritating, patronizing, condescending claim? Did you check some of what is published that way? I have. I have read a few amazing literary works (one of them is “Black Numbers” by Dean Lappi – I highly recommend it). I know for a fact that there are countless self published gems out there. That being said, there are – unfortunately – many examples to the contrary.

Now why did I capitalize the word “self”? The answer is simple – when you SELF publish – you have no one to take the responsibility for this work but yourSELF!

Does that scare you? It shouldn’t! I encourage you to self publish. Heck, I intend to do so myself, whether I get rejected by all publisher or get a great deal (Alright, depends on how great of a deal it is, but you get my drift).

Self publishing means you are FREE to publish by yourself. it does NOT (or at least should not) mean that you are excused from doing the actual work of a writer, which is to write the best damn piece you can.

You have the responsibility, first and foremost for your OWN product. Respect yourself. Make the effort to be all you can be! If you write – YOU ARE A WRITER! But, like I said in the beginning of this blog, you need to listen. you need to make sure you are doing yourself a good service. You will not achieve that by shutting down.

I joined a writers group in order to get help and to try to help others.

Hearing my word being read out by someone else was a blessing. It gave me so much perspective.
Exposing my work to a small group of people, allows me to get slapped in the face every week (I kid, just get some comments) and smile, knowing that I when I am done, my work will be the best I can do. That is all that is asked of a self published writer – do the best you can.

Doing the best you can is not only sitting down and burning the keyboard until you hit the golden number.

When you self publish, you also have some responsibility to your fellow self publishing writers… and to the self publishing concept. If we want it to WORK, and we all should want it to work, we absolutely have to support it.

We cannot support it by giving traditional publishers the pleasure of saying “Told ya’! WE filter a lot of stuff.”

So… here ends my post and I promised some links. I am a man of my word (Hmmm, in more ways than one…), so here you go:

So instead of digging out separate posts, here’s the gold mine for self publishing writers. You will find so much knowledge, insights, opinions, instructions and information in general. I LOVE this place.

If you didn’t read a word I wrote, but went there and browsed, I did my service 🙂

One thought on “A few words about SELF-publishing

  1. Hey Gil,
    Excellent post! I’m so glad you wrote this. With the publishing industry so difficult to break into for new writers, self-publishing is the best way to go, and sometimes initially the only way to go for many of us. But with this great new avenue to get our work out there comes a big responsibility. We owe it to our fellow writers, to the self-publishing industry, and to ourselves to only put our best work out there. Otherwise self-publishing will become a laughing stock – something that talented people will shun. And the writer who self-publishes something that’s “not ready for prime time” will be forever associated with the mess they’ve put their name on and sent out into the literary world.
    Thanks again for this timely piece!


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