Thursday, June 17, 2010


A couple of weeks ago someone posted a thoughtful piece on self-publishing, or rather the dangers of self-publishing. I wish I'd bookmarked it, because now I can't recall the details, but it was something about self-publishing making it too easy for writers to publish before the book is ready to be published. And publish before the writer has really honed his skills. I don't even know if that's what the article was really about. All I can recall is my mental response and another viewpoint it triggered in me. And I've been thinking a lot about this lately because of my own interest in self-publishing.

My concern isn't that unpolished and undeveloped stories will be published, my concern is that good books, fantastic books, will go unread.

Writers who would normally take the traditional path - the tedious queries and rejections, the waiting and waiting, the revisions and waiting and revisions and more queries - many of those writers will decide to self-publish and we'll never read their stories.


  1. I was beginning to think that as well, which is where peer feedback comes in. You'll have to promote your book and move your own product but it can be done.

  2. At this point, I've decided to go the traditional route, or die trying.

    I think that e-books and self-publishing would do much better if there were a comprehensive review site that marketed itself well and people trusted. As a business model, I've thought that it might work by charging a review fee. Paying the fee does not guarantee anything more than a review, though. You'd have to pass an editorial review before it was included on the site's pick lists. It would be like recapturing the gatekeeper aspect of traditional publishing without traditional publishing. Folks could go to the site and see the current picks, the archives, and read little reviews. And the site would have to look and act cool.

  3. carrie, i admire the writers who are able to do it all and make it work. it's a tough road, and takes a lot of time and just the right kind of self-promotion.

    jason, i hear ya. i definitely think the self-publishing world needs a trustworthy, unattached party to review and recommend the titles. i doubt that will ever happen on a big or organized scale. and then there's word of mouth - still a powerful force no matter how a book is published.