Yesterday what I thought was a largely innocuous statement on Facebook about my beta-reading process turned into yet another battleground in the civil war currently destroying the morale of authors and writers everywhere.
We are generally a touchy bunch who prefer to be left alone under all but the most delightful of circumstances, and this Internet thing has a way of engaging us in a world that we’d rather be away from. But the temptation to interact directly with other people by means of written word is too tantalising to resist. It spins us in a web and we’re lost. And then we’re stuck talking to people, which is a dicey proposition sometimes.
Now that the conversation is turning to how we conduct our business and how our work sees the light of day it’s gotten ugly. I’d link to a few of the discussions but I honestly don’t want to. There are so many and they go on forever. If you want to take a carriage out to Manassas all you have to do is Google “Traditional Self Publishing Versus” and you’ll get all the taste of gunpowder residue you can stand.
I said yesterday I’m a bipublishual and I stand by that. I see the merits in sending your book to a publisher for printing, marketing and distribution. It’s nice to think that your time can be devoted to writing the book, which is where your strongest talents lay/lie. (See. I need to have an editor.) But on other days where I have better health and a body of knowledge I amassed working in marketing, desktop publishing, graphic design and copywriting I think “I have the tools I need to get a book out there myself.” The idea of becoming my own industry has an undeniable appeal as well.
It honestly depends on the day, the book, the mood. What I like today I will disdain tomorrow. But I know next week we’ll go courting again. Because the money for self-publishing is, book for book, a better deal. You take home 70% of the royalties on a book you publish yourself. That’s 55-60% more than you’ll see from a book published at a traditional house. Then again, that “extra” profit gets eaten up really fast in the expenses of hiring a cover-art designer and an editor. It is further eroded by spending your limited time pimping your book across the internet. Now that more and more authors are doing it, the din is getting louder and it’s getting even harder to get people to take an interest in the work you’ve published through a traditional house, let alone the stuff you self-published. The stigma around self-published works is still there, too. You’ve got to wade through a briar wall of beliefs that prejudice people. Self-publishing is still seen by many people as Second Best. While that’s changed a lot in the last 18 months–it’s now fairly easy to find a book in the Indiepub world that’s as good or better than things coming out of the Traditional houses–it’s going to take a longer while and a larger number of quality Indie works to really force market acceptance.
And you know, all we really want to do is write. I don’t want to fight about it. I really don’t. But I also don’t like the idea of trash talking one side over the other. I want to love everybody. After all, that’s what being Bipublishual is all about.