Thursday, October 10, 2013

The choice to self publish

Wow, it's been a while since I posted anything.

I was messaging a self-published writer about his book that I wanted to read and he made the assumption that traditionally published writers (me) look down on Indie writers. I told him that I don't look down on self-pubbed writers, I just think that many self-pubbed books aren't as good as they can be because writers don't need to be patient anymore.

Now, I don't want Indie writers to think I'm calling them bad writers, that's not the case. I just believe that every writer needs to earn the right to self publish.

How do you earn the right to self publish, you ask?
You get good enough to get personal feedback from agents and publishers.
You stop getting ripped a new one from reputable critics online.

If self pubbing was around when I first started, then I would have ended up with a piece of crap because back then, I was sure it was ready. My God, no it was not ready. With no other outlet, I was forced to constantly edit, constantly submit and constantly open form rejection letters. I read tips and honed my craft the best I could in bits and pieces, each edit getting me closer.

I read my favorite authors in order to examine how they handled a paragraph and I micro-edited until agents began giving me handwritten tips on how to get even better. Trusted online critics started telling me my writing only needed to be tweaked. Publishers went from "no thanks" on the first chapters to requesting the full manuscript and then indicated what they liked and what needed work.

So, a few years ago I was published by Medallion Press and now with an agent and now with several major publishing house editors telling me my writing is strong (but the manuscript isn't for them), I feel that I have earned the right to self publish if I choose to.

Of course, waiting shouldn't apply to all writers. Some Indie writers won't regret having self published a book three years earlier because they've gotten good enough to see the mistakes they've made. While writing your fourth book, don't be ashamed about rushing out the first. Don't regret putting your writing out there before it is ready.