The Sunday Session – What Are Your Thoughts On…

… Self publishing.

Hmmm….this is such an interesting topic. I’m sure many people are aware of a certain Ms Grafton waxing lyrical about her thoughts on the subject (if you haven’t, go and read this, then come back!). Now, just to clarify, this post isn’t about her comments and how she feels about the subject (if I’m not mistaken, she has back-tracked on her original opinion…) however this interview did spark a HUGEΒ outrage among us writers – the majority of which are in fact ‘indie’.

Now, what I want to know is this; Why do you think there is such a stigma with self-publishing?


About Virginia

Writer, reader, crossword puzzler and conspiracy theorist.

15 Responses to “The Sunday Session – What Are Your Thoughts On…”

  1. I think it’s because some people think it’s a “coward’s way out”, where people publish the book themselves rather than braving the traditional publishing process. Also people like to read books by main publishers (eg. Bloomsbury), if they’re self – published, then I guess some people think that it’s not a good book because it isn’t published by a major publishing house.


    • Thats a good point. Consumers will feel ‘safer’ buying a book from a big publishing house. I tend to think of musicians who create their own label and release a song – they put it out there (via youtube, myspace etc) and the music is just as good (if not better) as the ones released by the big honchos.


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  3. I think it use to be considered “vanity press” the whole self publishing thing. But things have changed, now, talented writers are actually choosing to go down the “indie” route because they have more control over their work, not because their work isnt good enough for the traditional publishing route πŸ™‚



  4. With a self-published book, you don’t know what controls and checks the author has put in place, e.g., editing, legalities, proofreading etc. It’s the same as buying jam at a market. You don’t know if it’s hygienically prepared or whether or not the fruit inside the jar comes from a garden sprayed with DDT or worse.

    Until self-publishing has checks and balances in place in the form of an association of self-published authors, readers will prefer traditionally published books regardless of the quality.


  5. I think the stigma on self-publishing is as previously mentioned. It is seen as a vanity outlet for writers, it is unprofessional as anyone with a computer and collection of words can put something out for sale. There is no vetting process of the writer.


    The writer retains control of their work. Their time and effort is more fairly rewarded. They publish on their schedule. If the writer has any sense of pride in their work, they will take the time to go through a rigorous editing process, ensure that there are no copyright issues etc.. As stated, pride in workmanship and also self-preservation.

    Would I like to have a traditional book publishing deal, sure. That would be nice. But would I prefer to be able to take a chance on myself, do something that I want to, in a non-traditional way (my steampunk series for instance, that style/format of storytelling probably would not get half a glance from traditional publishers/agents.) I definitely want to be independent, and support both myself and other writers with encouragement and advice.


    • I think the interview with Grafton is easy to misinterpret. She does make invalid comments about selfers being ‘lazy’ however it may also mean that it isn’t fair that every Tom Dick and Harry can drum up 100 pages and publish it – regardless of whether they have gone through it with a fine tooth comb or not. Self publishing gives all authors a chance, not just mainstream ones. They just need to be very diligent in the pre publishing process.


  6. People perceive that publishing is a different industry these days and one wonders if even Miss Grafton would find herself able to be published in the traditional manner now.
    Publishing seems to be run by the money men. We see celebrities given huge book deals and yet the time decent books stay on that stand at the front of the bookshop is minimal. Books are taken away and remaindered if they cannot make their mark quickly.
    And if you cannot guarantee a big return in a short space of time, a promise a new unknown writer cannot hope to keep, then you will find it very hard. So the game gets tougher and people bale out in favour of self-publishing, which has become so much easier.
    I don’t know if this perception is correct, but the high profile of celebrity book deals does nothing to dispel what may be a myth.


  7. Great question, and thanks for pointing me to the Sue Grafton interview! I do think she makes some valid points; that a good deal of self-published books (but that is NOT to say all, or even most of!) are unpolished, or written by someone who would very much benefit by learning the craft, or applying research to their writing…

    I disagree with what she said about self-publishing being a “short-cut”, however. Yes, there are some people who write one book, sell it online, and expect to hit it big, but I think that the majority of people who self-publish would only do so after a very long and exhausting journey first of writing the work and then of pursuing markets for it.


    • I’m pleased you got a chance to read it πŸ™‚ I didn’t want this to be a bashing session because I do think she makes good points too. However I do think her choice of words was less than polite!


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