Self-Publishing Stigma

Blog 31 Raise the BarToday I’m posting a few thoughts about the stigma associated with self-publishing. I’m including the post in my series of blogs about what a first-time fiction writer should consider when choosing between traditional publishing and self-publishing.

Self-pub authors know the stigma I mean. It shows in many forms. Newspapers and many bloggers won’t review us. Many book stores won’t stock us. Occasionally, a traditionally published author looks at us askance. From behind our backs, we’re sure we hear, “Oh well, he had to self-publish because, you know, no publisher was interested.”

For this post, I’m not going to analyse the origins and current state of the self-pub stigma. Lots of others have done that; here’s a link to a good one. Instead, I want to make one of those points so simple and unoriginal, it’s almost embarrassing. A well-crafted story makes the stigma fade.

In the last few days, I saw this first-hand as it modestly applies to me. The father of a close friend whom I knew quite well sadly passed away earlier this week. I attended his visitation and service. In talking with others, the topic of my writing came up many times. My friend and his stepmother both read and liked The Case for Killing, and endorsed it to others. The result: not a whisper, to my face at least, of the stigma of being self-published.

I have no doubt that the varying quality of self-published books makes readers doubtful about investing the time and money to read them. However, knowing this, self-pubs should devote great attention to their story, and to the editing and design of their books. In fact, I’d say that they should set those bars higher than traditionally published authors in their genre do.

With really good work, self-pubs can clear those bars and leave the stigma behind.

Copyright © 2014 Peter Fritze

Buy The Case for Killing here (Canada) or here (U.S.).

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