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May 22, 2015

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

On the Matter of Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing

     On Twitter, mystery author Elizabeth S. Craig (@elizabethscraig | her blog) posts many useful & interesting links concerning writing. Recently this one caught my attention Has Digital and Self Publishing Devalued Authorship?

     First let me just say that entire debate about self-publishing somehow being less valid and any such related ideals fills me with a profound anger. Why? Largely because much of what is said negatively about self-publishing is broad generalizations that rarely encompass situations like mine while implying that what I do is somehow less and the opines disclosed frequently reveal to me an air of taking for granted things I struggle with that are for whatever reason somehow easier for them. Not that I have a clue if they genuinely do take such things for granted, it’s besides the point whether they do or not, the grumbliness happens regardless.

     Reading the article I frowned and harrumphed. It was the 1st real comment, however, that made me feel like responding. The comment was made by writer Joni Rodgers. I never heard of her prior.

     Her comment was lengthy and eloquent. Some of it tweaked a nerve, however, and I began writing a response in the comment section. As it began to grow in length I realized it was more of a blog entry than a comment. Plus I don’t care for hashing out long rants in comment form.

So now I weigh in on the whole traditional publishing vs. self-publishing debate.

     I'd say it always depends on the writer, the individual, and the work itself whether or not anything is devalued. Some self-publishers are: simply content with dabbling for the remainder of their years, stubborn, tired of rejection, delusional, vain or some other random thing. And others are none of those. Some are visionary and unorthodox. Some have very specific goals or other circumstances that are not conducive to the traditional publishing format and environment. Each situation is very different.

     I plan to begin self-publishing this year. It is not remotely in dismissal of the necessity of all the work that people that are involved in producing a traditionally published book. They and their work are extremely necessary, however I haven't the luxury of having the time nor resources required for pursuing traditional means of publishing.

I have many reasons for self-publishing.

  • Art and writing are my calling and have been since junior high some 15 years ago, I did not ever consider myself a dabbler. I threw myself in heart and soul.
  • I always had very specific plans for what I wanted to do and I've also always had extremely limited resources.
  • Printing and postage costs alone involved in the usual submissions process have always been beyond my means, and that's to say nothing of the cost of acquiring an agent.
  • The thought of: writing out queries, sending large samples of my writing to a multitude of strangers, spending copious amounts of valuable time being a nervous wreck while awaiting a reply, going through a contract process before finding my footing, and many other standard procedures native to the traditional route - those things to me are unappealing, horrific, torturous, stressful, sleep-depriving and crazy-making. I need my sanity and I need enough sleep. While insanity has it’s merits, sanity is not over-rated it’s required, without it they lock you away.
  • Many of my writing projects involve the incorporation of my artwork.
  • A great deal of what I want to do is difficult to convey to other people.
  • A solid decade of my life was, well, rough for lack of a better term, and due to all that went on I have to be very careful of my stress levels. Many forms of paperwork are exceptionally difficult for me, and the entire submission and trying to get discovered process are seriously stressful to me as well. Large amounts of stress cause me sleep deprivation, which is very bad for me.
  • One could say my health requires a simpler, more mellow process.
  • And about a kagillion and three other random reasons all of them thoroughly valid and respectable.

The only piece of writing I ever submitted was published. I only submitted it because I could handle the submission process.

Self-publishing allows me to both answer my calling and go at my own pace. Few things in life allow me that.

What do you think about the whole traditional vs. self-publishing debate? What experiences have you had with either?


Unknown said...

Your reasons for self-publishing are compelling and I congratulate you for having thought it out so well. And I applaud and agree with your decision to judge a work based on its worth, not its medium.

Christina Nabity said...

Thank-you!! I shall have to inform my relatives I have outside validation that my logic is sound and me thinking so much is a good thing, heh.
I am so glad you agree with me on judging a work based on it's worth rather than medium. I see so many things online that indicate the vast majority feel the opposite. It can be disheartening.

Unknown said...

Objectivity is generally high-priced these days. And you can't really blame folks for sticking with media that they feel is more likely to deliver quality. However, lots of things are changing in the industry these days. Readers who are more willing to experiment is going to be one of those changes, I think.

Christina Nabity said...

No, you really can't blame them. Buying something and then being really disappointed by it - it's only natural to do you best to reduce your risk of feeling that way again.
That is why it is so incredibly important for self-publishers especially to start and then maintain a good blog (or even multiple ones), it reduces the risk of buyers being disappointed in the work while allowing the people who might enjoy your self publishing efforts to get to know what kind of writer you are.
I've only started blogging regularly recently, but your commentary is very encouraging to me. Thanks for the extra motivation.