Fighting Self-Publishing Stereotypes

I had to write a column piece for my Newswriting class, so I decided to write it about how self-publishing is often looked at as bad because it’s so easy, and this is what I came up with. It’s not a particularly lengthy piece, but I think it gets the point across.

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The general public has taken it upon themselves to deem self-publishing less than acceptable than standard publishing. Self-publishing was created so that any one person can upload their manuscript for free and sell it to the masses.
Certainly self-publishing has allowed those grubbing for money to upload unfinished, sloppy work in an attempt to make a quick buck. After all, when you can become as rich as J.K. Rowling, Steven King or James Patterson it’s hard not to want to throw whatever books you can out to the world. But, just because a few self-published works are bad, doesn’t make them all bad.

People making rash generalizations about self-published authors aren’t helping the writing community at all. Companies like Lulu and Createspace, which is owned by Amazon, have made it possible for anyone to achieve their dream of publishing a book by creating these self-publishing websites. And with the difficulty it takes to query an agent, get accepted, query an editor and get accepted again, self-publishing makes things easier, but still harder for everyone.
Self-publishing is no easy task. As a self-published author you are literally in charge of everything. Formatting, cover design, editing, eBook conversion and marketing are all up to you. Of course, if you have a lot of startup capital you can hire people to handle everything except the writing for you.

In some cases, one can even hire a ghost writer so they can sit back and reap the benefits.

People often forget that there are a lot of self-published best-selling authors who write good quality books. There are so many writers out there who care about their craft and spend months, and sometimes years working on their manuscript in an attempt to make it perfect before sending it out for people to potentially rip apart.

Despite how easy companies have made it to self-publish, it is an industry that requires thick skin to dive in to. With the ongoing stereotype that self-published authors don’t know how to produce quality work, it is a tough battle to get a self-published book into the hands of millions of readers worldwide to fight that stereotype.


11 thoughts on “Fighting Self-Publishing Stereotypes

  1. I have seen poorly edited traditionally published work as of late and I feel like we need to push for quality as writers and demand it from all work regardless of publishing. It is, however, hard to find editors (without the capital) to spend if you don’t know where/ how to find them. I have made friends with other writers online that we’ve decided to share our work with. This way, we both benefit and are encouraged to hone our craft.

    • Absolutely! I’ve seen plenty of traditionally published works with typos and what not.

      And yes, editors are very expensive. I’ve yet to find one where I wouldn’t spend a minimum of $500. Having writing friends absolutely helps though. They make wonderful beta readers as well.

      • I’m trying to find a dedicated critique group of people to read like 20 pages a month in-depth with good comments on content but it’s really hard. I think it’s more than just typos too–gaping plot holes, horrible grammar, and an overuse of adjectives spring to mind!

      • That’s a solid idea! People on Google+ have writing Hangouts all the time. They create a Hangout, write for 45 minutes, and then discuss what they wrote. You could probably organize something like that.

      • I could but that would take a lot of work. I think the hardest thing is finding the right kind of readers. I want people whose work is up to snuff (even if it’s not in my genre) so I can respect their suggestions. I also want readers who will not change my wording but point out issues.

  2. Very nice article. I do not know if you submitted the article yet, or that this is even relevant…But you might want to point out a few success stories of self publishing as a counter-point. You have JK, Stephen and James mentioned, but they are traditional authors, long established and with an exceptional amount of very rare success. Anyway, just my two cents. ;-0

  3. I’m going to have to rely on friends who are writers for editing as there is a no way that I could afford to hire someone to edit my work and as I’m no artist I’d rather spend the money on cover art rather then an editor.

  4. Thanks for this piece. I’m getting my two traditionally-published mysteries e-formatted and on-line, trying to decide whether to self-pub my new manuscript. Life is short, the trad process long.

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