Several of my friends have sent me articles about self-publishing, and until now, I have pooh-poohed their efforts, smiling and nodding, but basically ignoring them because in the past self-publishing was the equivalent of climbing the highest tower you can find and ringing the death knell for your career as an author. It was an indicator that you couldn’t make it in the “real” publishing world, and I did not want to give that impression. Not to anyone.
But last year, about this time, I bought a Kindle, and I never thought I would enjoy using it, because I’m an orthodox bibliophile. I love the feel and smell of books. If you could see my living room, I wouldn’t need to tell you that buying a Kindle was like breaking a trust. Anyway, I bought a Kindle as a lark after winning $2700 at a casino, to prove that I was more of a purist, more serious, more resolute than all those people who would seriously buy and use a Kindle. I tried hard, really, really hard to dislike my Kindle, but I couldn’t. I do like it. I like having space on my nightstand. I like not having to replace my furniture, chairs and such, with more bookshelves because being able to sit is important in a living room. In addition, I especially like the ability to read books on my Android when I’m sitting in a doctor’s office or in line at the grocery store.
Once I had the Kindle, I pulled down books, lots and lots of books. Did I mention that I’m a bibliophile? Maybe not as orthodox as I once thought, but reading is still a spiritual act for me. The lower prices, many free, on digital books made me willing to read new authors. Some were worth reading, some not. Some were excellent even though I had never heard of them. The important thing is that I hadn’t spent $25 on a book I couldn’t finish, and yes, there have been books I pulled down from Amazon that I could not finish. Some of them are bad, just bad, but then again, just because you can self-publish, doesn’t mean you should.
Some of the books were so dreadful that I felt sad for the author. (I have a folder called "didn't like" so that I won't waste money on those authors again because some of these books are not even worth $0.99.) Then again, many of these self-published, minimum-priced, Kindle authors have enormous potential, and only need a class or two to refine their work, while some are lost causes. The point I'm getting to, via an extremely circuitous route, is that these books showed me that I could, at minimum, get published and be better than many.*
There are advantages and disadvantages to both traditional publishing and self-publishing. Those advantages and disadvantages will be the topic for my next post.
For now, I still have work to do tonight, work from my real job.
*[Don’t judge my novel on what I write here. This is just a blog, and I’m treating it as such. I’m just talking to you as if I were talking to a friend. I’ve been working on my novel for over five years, have a writing certificate in Literary Fiction, and so on, whereas I rarely put more than a few hours into a blog post.]