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The Story of Self-Publishing

A new post here, or read it below:

While the success of Hugh Howey–top-selling book sales, movie deal, major print-only contracts–has garnered increasing media attention, those who still wish to denigrate self-publishing are quick to say, “But he’s special! He’s an outlier! One success doesn’t mean anyone else can succeed!”*

Howey takes that on himself here, and it is a marvelous piece.

I didn’t step into self-publishing with the expectation of becoming the next multi-million dollar success. I wanted people to read what I wrote. I wanted to earn a little money from doing what I enjoy. Self-publishing was the way to do it. I don’t have to worry about whether my publisher will follow through on commitments, keep the work in print, contract with shell companies in order to reduce my royalties to pennies, or sell the right to publish my work to another company as part of a bankruptcy deal.

I’d rather everything be all my fault. Fail or succeed–it’s all my fault. Self-responsibility produces less anxiety than lack of control, and far less than learned helplessness.

*This is a variant of the snobbish, “Who do you think you are?” which is more often a finger-pointing way of saying, “Don’t you know who I am?”


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 5th, 2013 04:28 pm (UTC)
I've watched a lot of folks get involved with self-publishing. Some, I'm sad to say, are a joke. There are a couple of people like you, though, that have done such an awesome, professional job, that I root for you and hope you'll be very successful with your books. (Of course, I've also read your work and know it's great, where I've read for some other folks too, and there's wasn't.)
Apr. 7th, 2013 02:14 am (UTC)
There is a great deal of awful stuff up there, I agree. But I think there are two sides to the advantages of self-publishing. One is found by those who tell good stories, present them professionally, and discover their readership. That's been the "standard" measure for whether self-publishing is the "right" choice, or if it is successful.

The other is found by those who use self-publishing the same way bands use local bars and small-town fairs. It's a way to test the waters, and to find out what works and what doesn't. That's part of what Howey is talking about. Sometimes the bands are booed off the stage; sometimes a writer's work is panned. Sometimes the bands make people want to sing along and dance; sometimes the writer's work connects with the readership.

While driving back from St. Louis, I listened to a woman on NPR talk about how Twitter and blogging gave her a chance, as a comedian, to discover what worked with her audience. Not with agents, not with other writers, and not with industry professionals. With her *audience.*

I think that's the other side of self-publishing story. On the job training, so to speak. :)

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


Blair MacGregor

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