Self-Publishing – Poverty or Opportunity?
by Mr. Lynn Carroll, tutor at Creative Writing Institute
When you consider self-publishing, consider these things:
1. How hard it is to make an e-market platform (unbelievably difficult if you aren’t already established)
2. Good and bad writers are all piled in the same e-market lump. If you’re not a top-notch writer, this is a good place for you, but if you are, you’ll have to fight to hold your ground.
Some readers will be smart enough to look for award-winning writers first, as that is the only way to sort the meaty from the wordy. Others won’t care. They’ll read almost anything.
Seasoned writers that have earned their stripes the hard way have a right to view self-publishers as upstarts who bypass the hard work of learning the craft. By in large, (but not completely, by any means), the new self-publishing crowd is the generation that texts while they brush their teeth and could care less about correct punctuation. They have no time to fret over wordiness, proper spelling, comma usage, capital letters, and other such trivia.
It’s sad to see literature go the way of the fast food market. I shudder to think of the Bible, a beautifully written book of prose and poetry, rewritten in the unedited world of e-books.
Success is gauged in how many units they can sell. Self-publishing is the fastest growing method of publishing. The industry is pulling in millions of dollars, saving trees, reducing bulk, storage space, postage, ink, and everything else – but is it a good thing? Fortunately, it’s a self-policing business. Those that are horrible writers will sell very little. Those that produce a good product might make some money. In the end, the best marketers will come out on top, regardless of their product.
I have yet to do a study of what it is that makes e-mags and e-books so popular to the readers (other than ease of access and articles and books that can be read in one sitting), but I do understand why it’s so popular with the authors.
I’m a hard-nosed editor from the old school. I teach students to use correct grammar and punctuation. I confess to having a definite bias. I still believe that new authors should earn their stripes before being afforded the luxury of such publicity.
Despite the fears of some traditionalists, I don’t think self-publishers will replace the conventional publishers, just as McDonald’s didn’t replace traditional restaurants. In the end, the market will sort itself out and there will be ways to locate the good and the bad. Each will have its own place in the grand scheme.
Today’s savvy writer will have to adjust to new ways in order to survive, but thing about this – suppose all the world knowledge goes to computers and idiots hack the database? Sorry. You’ll find me at the antiquated library.
Where do you stand on self-publishing? Do you see it as a threat?