I don’t intend for this post to be a, “bash self-publishing party,” or to put down the many, fantastic indie authors that I know. Instead, I simply want to respond to a damned annoying statement that gets brought up in almost every conversation I have with self-published authors. Usually it goes something like, “You shouldn’t waste your time trying to get an agent, because indie publishing is so much better,” and it makes me want to kick someone in the teeth. (Not that I could, a punching bag has literally given me a black eye before.)
I completely understand that many indie authors hear the exact opposite of what I am experiencing, and I think it would be interesting to read how an indie author deals with the, “Traditional publishing is the only real publishing,” mindset. For this post, I am only going to focus on my experiences, though I really would like to hear if you’ve had to deal with the opposite.
First, the main reason why I have no desire to ever self-publish is because part of my dream is being traditionally published and part of that process is getting an agent. I know it sounds stupid, and it’s not fair, but I place higher prestige on traditionally published books versus self-published ones. I know that there are bad books on both sides, but since I am a nobody, the only way any of my manuscripts will get accepted is if they are actually good. And one of the best people to spot a quality manuscript is an agent.
Off subject, but while there are countless, courteous self-published authors, I always see some SOB in on social media who truly thinks that their work is the best thing ever written. Even through the Internet, their ego has a god damn gravitational pull. I hate the culture of shameless self-promotion. I hate that writers would rather give four and five-star reviews to crap books, simply because they don’t want to hurt another writer’s feelings. I don’t want a participation trophy, and I don’t want to be associated with those kinds of people. I want to earn it.
I understand that many self-pub authors have to market themselves if they hope to have any possible financial success, so it isn’t fair to hate on self-promotion. It takes a lot of work outside of writing to make a book successful, but this is another reason why I don’t want to self-publish. Agents, editors, and publishers exist to fulfill this part of the industry. I love writing and not just narratives. I enjoy writing for my blog, connecting with like-minded people, and pretty much writing whatever I want. I do not like the idea of being forced to make post after post about my own work with the hope that I get a few e-book sales. It makes my success as an author contingent on my ability to market and not my ability to be a fucking writer.
The biggest upside that self-pub authors use to try to convince me is that the royalties are much higher in indie publishing. This is completely true. Amazon offers like 70% royalties while most big houses offer around 10%. The problem with their argument is that most major publishers will offer an advance which will compensate the author for the work that they have all ready put in. An indie book does not see a dime until their book starts selling, and if an indie book flops it doesn’t matter that the author had 70% royalties. Their poorly performing counterpart will still have earned their author a few thousand dollars in an advance.
There is one last item that makes me never want to self-publish. 9 out of 10 self-published books that I have read are terrible, but 10 out of 10 self-published authors believe that their book is the exception. If I self-published, I could never be sure that my stuff wasn’t crap just like the rest of them. I should add that I am okay with writing crap, hell that’s pretty much all I write right now, but I’m not okay with that being the culmination of my life’s work.
If I ever publish a novel it will be with a traditional publisher. Like I said at the beginning, this has not been a knock against indie publishing, but rather a response to all of the people who try to belittle my choice of pursuing my dream. I still would love to hear about indie authors dealing with snobby people from traditional publishing, so if you have a story please don’t hold back. I hope that everyone is having a wonderful day and that at least someone found this helpful.