I often get strange looks when I tell people I'm writing a book. Not because I'm writing a book, but because I plan on self-publishing. A few years ago, self-publishing wasn't an option if you were serious about your work. Writers would spend years trying to land an agent and a book deal. But with the advent of ebooks (thanks Kindle) and websites like CreateSpace and Lulu, indie authors are flooding the literary market with...great books! Nowadays, I buy more books from self-published authors than I do from best selling or even mid-list authors.
It's no different than let's say, the music industry. Many of our most popular artists got their start in backroom bars or by performing the college circuit getting paid in beer. Musicians promote their music on YouTube, start their own labels and distribute their CD's or MP3's online. One of the reasons American Idol is so popular is because we want to see the no-name underdog see their dreams come true.
So why does self-publishing for authors carry a stigma? Are there just too many books that we cannot afford to flood the market with the good, bad AND the ugly?
We spend big money on Hollywood blockbusters that end up as flops (and unlike online retailers, we can't ask for our money back) and buy entire CD's for just one good song (admit it, you do). But for some reason, a self-published book automatically equates to bad writing. Sure, most authors who self-publish do so because they've been rejected by agents and/or publishers. But there are a lot of authors who decide from the very beginning they are going to self-publish. Even traditional published authors, like J.A. Konrath (patron saint of self-publishing), are now self-publishing their work.
Is self-publishing any different from being picked up by a small publisher? You don't get advances and you still have to put in the same amount of effort to promote, market, and sell their book.
Are we just book snobs? Do we only consider published books acceptable because they've been vetted by agents and editors?
Sure, being an indie author is not without its drawbacks: a self-published book probably WON'T get the attention of an agent, ever appear on the NY Times Bestseller list, get nominated for an award, or allow you to quit your day job.
These are some of the reasons why I chose to self-publish:
1. I don't want to waste my time querying agents for years so that I can get a pittance of a royalty.
2. I don't plan on leaving my day job (unless of course my books sell).
3. I don't want readers to have to wait a year in between books.
What are your thoughts?