WHITE NOISE IN PUBLISHING

October 20, 2014 at 11:42 pm Leave a comment

Continuing on my white noise theme in the publishing world, I feel self-publishing has, as most things do, some good and some not so good points.

Self-publishing gives a new slant to ‘freedom of speech’. Anyone and I mean anyone can publish what they want, the good the bad and the ugly, for perhaps little or no expense and sell it to the public. In future posts I will explore self-publishing options for my and my readers’ benefit. However, before I tackle that subject, I want to delve into the process of finding a publisher (I’ve already begun that task) and an agent.

Now, back to self-publishing and white noise.

I’m sure it’s my lack of confidence, or maybe my upbringing in the scientific world, but I need verification from someone knowledgeable in publishing that what I write is worthy of publication. That is the cross I bear, but I’m learning to throw-off this burden, at least to some extent.

You see, the problem I have with self-publishing is that there is no gatekeeper. With over 435,000 works self-published last year the white noise in publishing has become a deafening roar. I know, everyone has a book in them but let’s be honest, sometimes that’s where it should stay. Then again, who has the right to make that judgment? See the conundrum.

In the past, the only way to be published, other than by a recognized publisher, was by a vanity press. By using a vanity press, you could fill your garage or basement with copies of your work and come away from the experience hundreds or thousands of dollars poorer. For the most part, the vanity press is all but gone, but not totally. What it has done is morphed into companies advertising in writer’s magazines offering to publish your work for perhaps a few hundred dollars or so. They have traded the profits made by a few paying a great deal to a great number paying a lot less. In the future I want to explore how you can bypass them and publish on your own.

Now, here’s where I make some enemies, but isn’t that what life’s all about?

Of the 435,000 works published last year, how many would have found a home with a traditional publisher. I ask myself, when I look at my own work, is there anyone who would pay money to read this other than my family or friends. That should be your litmus test if you really want to become a writer. Publishing a book might stroke your ego, but will it contribute anything.

I met an author last year who told me she is now self-publishing. However, she first published with established publishers, built a reputation, and now publishes on her own. That path has merit, in my eyes.

Another interesting observation I saw in a writer’s magazine was how self-publishing may hurt those beginning a long-term career. A side note, I recently had a story accepted and after it was accepted I decided to read it one last time. I had written it sometime ago and, at times being a bonehead, failed to read it before sending it off. I found the writing ‘lacking’ and told the publisher they would receive an improve version. The point is, we improve with experience. That is the point made in the article. The reason the career-minded writer should be careful about self-publishing their early work is that if they take the next step and decide to seek out a traditional publisher and that publisher is interested in taking them on, they will consider the writer’s self-published an example of their skill. Do you get the point? Your name is attached to your work, your true name in most cases, and that work is how your writing will be judged.

Finally, if you do decide to self-publish, PLEASE! PLEASE! have someone other than your mother or closest friend read your work. Preferably someone who has read a great deal and will give you an honest opinion. This is where, if you are sincere about your craft, a good writers group comes into play. If there isn’t a group you can join, there are opportunities to get online critiques where you can exchange work with other writers. Another benefit of critiquing someone else’s work is the process tends to improve your own skills.

Hope I haven’t ruffled too many feathers, and that my comments will help turn the white noise in publishing into joyful music.

Entry filed under: OBSERVATIONS & OPINIONS. Tags: , , , , .

WHITE NOISE IN LIFE AND WRITING MY FARMER DAUGHTER: ANOTHER VIDEO

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