Self-publishing and the snobbery issue

A wonderful post by Alison Williams – just had to share 🙂

Alison Williams Writing


I work with all different types of authors, those who are hoping to secure a publishing deal, those who are chasing the self-publishing dream and even a couple who have gone on to secure a deal with one of the big five (or six, or whatever it is). Some of these writers are brilliant, some are really talented, some are steady, dependable story tellers who can spin a good yarn, some aren’t that great, some have accepted help and advice and have improved in leaps and bounds, a few I have advised to go right back to the drawing board and there have been a handful who I have had to advise that writing is perhaps not the path for them (this is at the sample edit stage – I never take a penny from authors in this situation).

You might be surprised to know that most of the authors…

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8 thoughts on “Self-publishing and the snobbery issue

  1. I read that the other day and thought it hit the nail on the had (aaaagh cliché alert!) by which I mean it echoed my views.
    There are poor books, good books and excellent books in all sectors, ie truly self-published, vanity press published, trad big company published.
    I’ll be honest and say the worst editing I have seen is in the self-pub sector, where either the author hasn’t used an editor, or the editors/proofreaders were not good. At all. Editing is neither easy nor lucrative.
    The best one I read/reviewed was a trilogy about working in publishing/romance. The author worked in publishing, and, I joke not, she had hundreds of mistakes. The last book was pre-pub, so I pointed out she had loads of errors, thinking she could get her editor to turn it round in time and get it reformatted. Hell, I’d have edited it. And she said ‘Errors? What errors? I had two editors’! Interestingly, when I looked at Amazon, a number of reviews mentioned the errors, and said how ridiculous that someone working in publishing couldn’t produce a better quality book.
    I think there are also a couple of key misconceptions. One is that by being ‘published’ the author avoids all that ghastly self-promotion and two, one big advantage of self-pub is the total control ie of dates, ability to make changes post publication, cover design, editing, formatting, price setting and greater percentage of royalties.

    • I think your last point is a huge advantage – I must say I greatly enjoy the control I have over the finished product (interesting finding out just how much of a control freak I can be, actually). And yes, publication by even a big house does not mean you don’t have to still maintain an author platform -a friend of a friend was published by a ‘big’ name, and still had to schlep her own books to events where, more often than not, she sold none.
      I though Alison’s post was great – I used to try and defend self-publishing when I told people I was an independent author. Now I don’t. It’s the same as any other small business – you have to present a good quality product, market and promote it to get anywhere, and it takes a lot of hard work.

  2. So glad I read this one. I was explaining to a non-writer a month or so ago about my decision to self-publish and start with primarily E-books. She said, “Can’t you get someone in (our small town) to publish it for you?” Ha. I went on to explain how publishing works. She then adamantly suggested that I should do most of my marketing at the local library. I then had to explain about niche markets, the blogosphere, social media, “the long tail.” After about ten more “well couldn’t you just” questions she finally looked really deflated and said, “well I guess you’ve done a lot of research about this, then.”

    • Thank you – I think it’s a frustration most of us undergo as self-published authors. I remember telling an acquaintance about my first book, and she said ‘Oh, you must have been so excited when the publisher took it on!” When I explained I was self-published, her face fell. I think people outside the industry really don’t understand or appreciate the amount of time, work and effort that a lot of indies put into their books. I thought Alison’s post was so well written, and really hit the nail on the head 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting!

      • Yeah, I’m gearing myself up for more of those types of comments. At least others in the self-publishing community “get it.” I’m going to wait to tell most of my friends and family until my book is primed and ready for publishing- that way it will be like ripping off a band-aid.

      • Yes, it’s a very supportive community, that’s for sure. One of the best things about blogging are the people I’ve ‘met’ 🙂
        I hope your big reveal goes well – you’ve written a book, after all! That’s an achievement to be celebrated 🙂

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