Many years ago, self-publishing got it’s bad rap because the quality wasn’t there. Self-published books were usually inferior in design and inferior in materials. Picking up a book, you could easily tell it had been self-published. If the xerox’d pages didn’t give it away, it was the terrible bindings (or three-ring binder encasing it). In quite a few of the cases, it was also the inferior quality of the contents too. But, even then, there were many that did it right. They paid the extra money for a quality design. They paid the extra money for the quality materials. And, they put in the time and effort to publish quality content.
Now, with the greater availability (and reduced costs) of self-publishing, more and more books are being self published. More and more big names are self pubbing their stuff. Self publishers have access to the same design and materials that many of the big name publishers have access to. Amazon has started it’s own imprints using the same services that many self publishing authors will use. But, even with all that increased access, there still seems to be a stigma to self publishing. In many ways, it’s an earned stigma. Many people still expect something that’s been self published to be crap.
Chuck Wendig wrote a terribly good post on his site terribleminds (see what I did there? terribly good … terribleminds… ) about self publishing not being the minor leagues. It starts off a little bit like a defense of self publishing, but it turns into something much better. It’s a call to authors to be the artists that they can be. It’s a call to not settle for the crap, but to refine it, polish it, and publish the diamond that was hidden in the refuse.
If we’re going to admit that self-publishing is an equal choice, then it’s time to step up and act like it. It’s time to stop acting like the little brother trailing behind big sister. Time to be practical. And professional.
Defeat naysayers with quality and effort and awesomeness so blinding they cannot see past you.
There’s a whole lot more to the post, but that’s what really stuck out to me. Self publishing isn’t that much different from traditional publishing. You still need to put out your best work. You can’t settle for good enough, or “mom liked it” and expect to have any better results. Say what you want about readers, but they aren’t stupid. They aren’t going to suddenly buy your self published crap just because self publishing is more widely accepted. But, they will buy your self published masterpieces. But, they have to be masterpieces. They will buy your art if you present them art “with quality and effort and awesomeness so blinding they cannot see past you.”
What are you polishing today?