As a self published author, one has to constantly run the gauntlet of snobbish opinion as to traditional vs self publishing. This is a tiresome task and one that never goes away no matter what we do. No matter how carefully we proof read and edit, no matter how much money we spend on cover art, no matter how many beta readers we send our manuscripts to and no matter how many re-writes we do, our work will always be regarded as shit because it’s not been traditionally published.
This subject came up again on facebook just now, when some knob-head made the following comment,
“Self-published authors are exactly that, self-published. This is almost like arguing what the difference is between art and garbage.”
We all know there is a glut of badly edited trash out there from self published authors who should never have thought about putting their shit out there, let alone actually doing it, and we all know that the good stuff is buried under this mountain of trash, making it very difficult for our work to be found by readers. We also know that these trash writers give us good writers a bad name and are responsible for this stigma that plagues us.
The sticking point for me, and the one thing I cannot get past without getting angry, is that my work is judged by those who have never read it. No one has the ability to know whether my work is shit or solid gold without reading it first, and my opinion is that until they do, they should shut up and keep their asinine opinions to themselves. When I commented to this effect, on the same thread as the comment above, I was then told, “I’m not risking money and time on something I don’t trust. You have to earn that chance, you aren’t entitled to it. You do this via marketing yourself. (Of note, angry rants do not help your case.)” To anyone who believes that since I self publish my own work, I do not have the right to express my exasperation, I say this,
My ability to express my feelings has no effect whatsoever, either detrimental or otherwise, to my written work and if you think it does, then you’re probably not the kind of person I would wish for as a reader. You had probably better stay inside and carry on with your knitting and siamese cats, I’ve got gritty novels to write for readers with an educated and open mind.
In my humble opinion, it is people such as those I mentioned above, that are killing writing and not authors self publishing their own work. Whilst badly edited work does annoy readers, opinions such as those outlined above do much damage to talented authors trying to get their work out there to those minds waiting to receive it and enjoy it. It is these talentless and blinkered troglodytes who are hindering the evolution of writing/publishing, not authors missing the odd comma or misspelling there/their/they’re.
As those of us with a few brain cells know, there is no benefit to being traditionally published these days. They may (may) give you a small advance, but they keep 80% of your royalties, they do no marketing for you and you get no say about the cover art. A traditional publishing house will demand you present them with a fully outlined marketing plan before they consider offering you a contract and you will be expected to do all the leg work in getting your work out there. Self published authors keep up to 70% of their own royalties and have total control over cover art, and still do their own marketing/promotion etc. There are many editors out there advertising their services if you don’t have the knowledge or confidence to do it yourself, so self publication need never be the poor relation of the writing family.
Times without number I find spelling errors and other simple mistakes in traditionally published works by well known authors, but never have I seen comments about how bad this is, nor how this should not be tolerated etc. No, the opinions are always about how self published authors are the street urchins amongst the traditionally published earls and duchesses. Until this changes, the writing/publishing world will never evolve as we know it is currently trying to do.