When I first became aware of self-publishing, I dismissed the idea, figured it would last about as long as I <3 Boobies bracelets did at the high school where I teach.
As a writer, I’ve always said I didn’t really care if I got published. It would be cool, of course, but what I want is to write moving stories, to make art that people might connect to, which does require getting my work out into the world. That being the case, there was no way I planned on taking the easy way out. But my efforts have been too far between and too fruitless. What markets are out there for my work pay little or nothing and I can’t stomach one more article about the miniscule number of manuscripts that will ever make it through the supposed quality control that is traditional publishing.
Self-publishing turned out to be no flash-in-the-pan and as I feared it did open up a venue for really bad writing to ooze out into the world, adding to the pace already set by the Internet. In the past two months, I’ve seen three manuscripts from people within spit-wad distance of me for sale on Amazon that can’t possibly have gone through any significant revision. My first response to this was to stand my ground, a higher ground. If I was going to be a writer, I was going to do it the right way, damn it!
Here’s why I’ve changed my mind:
The line between a self-published writer and a traditionally published writer has blurred beyond recognition. The amount of self-promotion most writers have to do even if they are picked up by a tradtional publisher these days practically looks like self-publishing anyway.
I’m not looking to make money. I want to write and be read. I want to be part of the conversation that is fiction. I have a full time job where I have to answer to bosses and meet standards. Why should I waste the little time I have to make my art mucking around in the proverbial slush pile building rejection letter shrines?
I have high standards. I meticulously edit my work. Who do I really want to decide whether that work is worthwhile?
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