An author colleague said something today to spark this blog post. I am in the middle of planning a blog tour at the moment, but this comment really got into my brain, and wouldn’t let go, so I had to leave the blog tour planning and let the fingertips pound the keyboard to get it out of my system.
My friend has recently had a piece of work published, but when she told me about it she qualified her statement as follows -
‘At least I can say now I have had something published that isn’t self-published.’
Her statement got me thinking about the poor rap that self-publishing has. To link this back to my planning for the blog tour, I have researched literally hundreds of bloggers over the past few weeks, and I wish I had kept some statistics, because the overwhelming majority state in their policies that they won’t review self-published authors.
Most are also quite vocal about the reasons why - the generally poor standard of self-published work puts readers and bloggers off, and they don’t want to waste their precious time. And I can’t blame them. I have read a lot of such work over the past few years, and although I am self-published myself, I think I would be almost inclined to not want to review self -pubs either, unless they could convince me that they had been professionally edited.
It is a shame really, because many self-published authors do take pride in their work and give it the care and attention it needs, even if it means waiting many more months to get their work out there. When a self-publishing author takes the time to edit, prepare and choose their publisher wisely, it can be very difficult to tell a self-pub from a traditionally published book.
I read a quote earlier this year by author Adrienne Thompson - “Being self-published makes me no less ‘published’ than the authors who are with publishing companies.” The dictionary defines to ‘publish’ as to issue printed or textual material for sale or distribution to the public. It means the same thing whether an author does it themselves or whether a large company does it for you. The end result is a paper or publication made available to the public.
The final thought my friend’s comment left me with was this - society generally applauds people who do things their way - think of the famous Sinatra song - ‘I did it my way.’ We encourage the artist and even the writer to develop their own style, but when it comes to publishing it, there is only one way deemed to be the authentic way. I think it comes from the idea that a person’s work has little value unless someone else recognises it and tells the world about it.
What can self-published authors do to turn thinking around? Continue to strive to raise the bar on the standard of self-published work. Don’t be hasty to see your book in the public arena. Take time to have it edited. Be willing to take criticism on board and consider it before rejecting it out of hand. Hopefully in time, with patience and perseverance, self-pubs will be able to turn public opinion around, and self-publishing will be seen to be the move of a courageous author, rather than a desperate act by an untalented ‘wanna-be’.