Friday, April 30, 2010

So... Why Did You Do It?

I follow a number of blogs--privately--and I just read one blog topic that caught me a little off-guard. Usually I don't read the comments people leave on blogs, but this time I was curious so I kept reading. I've got to say, I was rather disappointed at the responses. (Which isn't to say I don't understand them, but... ouch...)

There's this girl who seems pretty cool (I've never talked to her, but I follow her blog) named Kristi who runs this blog: The Story Siren. (You should check it out, btw.)

Today her post is, "Do you judge a book by it's publisher?"

Naturally, being a self-published author, I was curious. So I began reading.

And cringing.

And cringing some more.

(Go read the blog post, then the rest of my post will make more sense!)

I always wanted to be picked up by a big publishing house, of course. I always wanted an agent to get me a big deal and hold my hand through the publishing process. Doesn't every writer? I don't think most writers start out wanting to be self-published.

But am I unhappy that I'm self-published? No. Did I realize what a stigma there was around self-publishing when I did it? No way. (Of course, I also didn't know about these book blogs when I started, either, and I thought as long as my book was on Amazon, people would magically find it.)

I like being self-published. I am the final gatekeeper for everything that gets put out there. I maintain total and complete control (good or bad) over my book. Whether I fail or succeed in my writing is completely my fault. Are their flaws in my manuscript that would have been caught? Sad to say--yeah. It makes me cringe when I think about it (apparently MS Word thought "lightening" was an acceptable spelling of "lightning"). Are they so ridiculously large that I think the entire book and series isn't worth reading? Well, no, otherwise I wouldn't be embarking on the second one down the same path. Can you tell me you've never found a typo in a big-publishing house book?

I know, I know, I sound all defensive. And I'm not. Or, I am. But I think self-publishing is cool. You have no big house to back you, so you've got to make it on your own. You've got to strike out and earn everything you get. And you have all of these reviewers on- and offline who say, "I don't accept self-published books." --Try generating any sort of interest about your book when no one will read it and you HATE all that shameless self-promotion stuff! And trying to get a bookstore to carry a self-published book? Phew! Good luck with that.

All of these things I didn't know when my dad said he would fulfill my lifelong dream to be published at 24 years old and pay to have the book published for me, since I was out of time to query agents and publishing houses.

But you know what? It was a dream come true and I wouldn't change a thing. <3


Melanie Walsh said...

Great spirit, Vivian - that will get you a long way in life. Times change, as do attitudes.

Anna Moore said...

It's funny because before your book I did the nose snob to self-published books too. However your book sounded so interesting that I HAD to read it, and I had an epiphany that a self-published book can be JUST as good, if not better, than any major-pub-house book. You & your book are the reasons now that if a book sounds good, I don't CARE where it came from as long as I can get it in my hands to read it!

Vivian Marie said...

Awww!! Thank you both! That's so cool, Anna... I had no idea. <3 I LOVE YOU!!!