There have been a few blog posts from those I follow (mostly from Chuck Wendig, with his posts linking to a few articles) about self-publishing this week, and it’s gotten me thinking about it again. Well, still, as truth be told it’s not something that is ever far from my mind.
Rather than try to give a cohesive explanation of my thoughts, I’m just going to post a few disjointed things on it, to add to the picture rather than try to paint the whole thing.
- I think first, there is a sentence I’m going to say, then explain to hopefully get my point across as clearly as possible. “The mere act of uploading a manuscript to Amazon and publishing it does not make you (general you, not you in particular) a better or more experienced writer.”
Now, before I offend everyone, let me explain. I don’t mean that self-published writers can’t be experienced, can’t be masters of their craft, or can’t be very legitimate writers. I’m more talking about the barriers to entry, here. For better or worse (depending on who you ask), Publishing houses do review manuscripts and only publish those they think they can make money on. There is some weeding that takes place (though it may be too much or not enough, depending on who you ask). I could word-vomit a story in a day and then post it, but that doesn’t make the story quality or me a good writer, even if I’m “published”.
- Related to that, I have to think about what would make me consider myself a legitimate writer. Certainly, a contract with a major publishing house would. Merely publishing a novel to Amazon would not. But what about in between? Is it selling a certain number of copies, regardless of venue? Is it making a certain amount of money?
- One thing that I had never thought about before on the publishing thing is quantity. I tend to write quickly, and am learning to better write more tenaciously. I can write 10,000 words in a day, and can keep doing that. If I learn to do that with editing as well, I could end up producing quite a few books. Assuming that I am a halfway decent writer (and this is a rather big assumption), that’s a couple of novels a year, potentially.
From what I have heard, most publishing houses want you to produce one, maybe two books a year. That may not be enough for my proclivity to write, certainly if it’s ever something I can do full time. Something else to consider.
- An important point to the discussion: why is it that, when self-publishing comes up, it’s always discussed as an either/or proposition? Why is it that, at least the way it is discussed, you either self-publish, or you traditionally publish? Why are hybrid approaches never discussed? Is it something with traditional contracts (and don’t get me that canard about book contract clauses keeping you from even blogging in the non-compete clause; it’s mostly bullshit)? Is it something with the preferences of those that self publish?
- Not a question or anything like it, but my graphic design skills are shit. Having someone to make my cover for me would be really, really nice without having to spend major money on it.
So yeah. Not cohesive thoughts coming to any conclusion, just what’s swirling around my brain right now. And really, it’s all secondary: I should be writing more instead.
Step 1: Write something worth publishing. Until that’s done, the publishing question is kind of theoretical.