Thursday, June 20, 2013

Self-Pub Authors & The End Of The World

I’m going to wade into a discussion that has been both politely and impolitely debated for several years before I even became aware of the self-publishing gold rush.  In essence, the issue under debate is; are self-published authors bringing about the downfall of civilization?  On one side, many prominent folks in the writing and publishing industries complain that self-published authors are producing poorly written, barely edited garbage that is frequently cheap or free in digital format and so flooding the market, turning readers away from reading as a pastime and undermining the demand for the more polished, more expensive and more traditional book.
Okay, take a little break here and feel free to either weep or laugh, depending on your personal view of the situation.

Now then, the other side of the argument is this; self-published authors are writing and self-publishing books across the quality spectrum from garbage that is gibberish, computer generated, stolen or not representative of what it is advertised to be, all the way to books that are the classics of tomorrow and will be read in classrooms the world over.  Moreover, these same authors are providing a distinctly different product/experience combination to buyers than mainstream publishing, just as the food sold at a Farmer’s Market is a much different product/experience than that sold in a chain grocery store. 
My take on the entire debate is three-fold:

1-    No matter how many of us grow tomatoes, keep laying hens or make blueberry jam, we’re never going to put the big grocery stores out of business.  It’s possible that we’ll cause enough change in the market demand that those big stores will have to adapt…just a little…but they’re not in danger of extinction.

2-    Everyone wants to be heard and listened to.  When we sit around the campfire telling stories, everyone wants to take a turn and we give everyone a turn.  So a few folks tell stories that don’t make sense to us or don’t even sound like stories, so what?  Chances are, they make sense to someone and even if it’s just the person telling the story, that’s important.

3-    You know what?  There are a lot of traditionally published and self-published books out there that hold no appeal to me.  I think they’re poorly written and/or poorly edited and/or about subject matter that doesn’t interest me.  So what?  It interests other folks.  There are several self-published authors who write books that I think are sort of shabbily written and lazily edited, but they have large and enthusiastic followings.  That’s great and my enthusiastic congratulations to these authors!  There are lots of things in life that don’t have to be perfect or perfectly polished to be appreciated.  Furthermore, there are lots of readers who want to read stories written by authors who are approachable and real; authors who will chat with them on social media and inspire them to follow their own creative pursuits and dreams.  Readers want human connection and they want real world role-models; self-published authors provide this.  Rich, famous, celebrity authors do not.
What do you think?  I hope you’ll comment and let me know.

 Ummm…also…I’m a self-published author.  Feel free to check out my fantasy novel.  If you love magic, labyrinths, Alaska or dogs, you’ll get a kick out Magic All Around.  Here's what it looks like in digital format.  

Would you like to read Magic All Around in paperback?  I am bubbling over with delight to announce that it is now AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK!  Go ahead, buy a copy.  Dog-ear it.  Let the dog drool on it.  In fact, fall asleep on it and drool a bit yourself.  Leave cookie crumbs between the pages, toss it in your purse or backpack and read it in public!  Then buy more copies because you decide it makes a great gift!