A couple of blog posts on self-publishing really caught my eye during the last week or so.
Traditional publishing as vanity press
In a recent post (Submit. But don’t say “Uncle.”) on his eponymous blog, Hugh Howey reflects on motivation and some of the demons that drive us as writers. He describes the current (and future) publishing landscape as one shaped by writers and readers together, turning received wisdom about traditional and independent publishing on its head.
Be sure to scroll down through the comments to find Massimo Marino’s vision of the future of POD, where every printed book is a sold book, and the end of the query process, in which literary agents operate like pro sports scouts. (The better and smarter agents are already doing this.)
Professionalism in self-publishing
In a guest post (The Professionals’ Effect) on Catherine Ryan Howard’s blog Catherine, Caffienated, Jean Grainger outlines her own journey to publication. She writes with humor and candor about delusions, pitfalls, and the delicate mix of confidence and humility needed for success. Best of all, she shares her surprising discoveries about the communal nature of self-publishing.
Don’t forget to search through the comments for Stephen Tiano’s observations about self-publishing as a business venture rather than a DIY project. (Images of basement mimeo machines and hand staplers spring to mind.)
The bottom line
Self-publishing is a viable and respectable business model, and authors who self-publish should consider themselves legitimate businesspersons: publishers. They owe it to their business to pay attention to the practices that traditional publishers continue to follow and those that have been abandoned. They owe it to themselves to pay attention to the experience of fellow independent publishers and the wider community of writers and readers. Most importantly, they owe it to their work to approach it with professional respect and integrity.