Independent publishing is a movement that some in the industry will never understand.
The publishing industry – as a whole – has long decried the independent movement. Before the digital world, independently published works were labeled “vanity” published. It was a way to set them apart from more respectable books.
Today, technology has created an atmosphere where anyone can publish anything at any time. They do. Some of it is good, and some of it is bad. If the industry was honest with itself then it would admit that some of the bad is coming out of the traditional spectrum and some of the good is coming out of the independent spectrum.
On the Huffington Post blog, on December 29, 2016, Laurie Gough declared self-publishing to be an insult to the written word. That’s a bit harsh, even by industry standards, but it’s no surprise. Her very points mark the major reasons that the industry – the great THEY of the publishing world – will never understand the independent movement.
Arguments Against Independent Publishing Debunked
1. Books need to pass through the gatekeepers to be vetted by professionals.
In 2008, the online writing world collapsed and the print news industry began to crumble. Literally hundreds of thousands of professionals were left without steady jobs. Some of these professionals began to offer their services independently. The digital art world is booming with technology making it easier than ever to design, manipulate, and craft unique works of art. These artists have taken to the online world to sell their creations. Many independent publishing ventures move through these professionals to design, format, and edit the books published.
There are professionals in a wide range of positions and places that can be independently utilized. It just may not be the right THEY to satisfy the traditional industry.
2. The traditional publishing industry is the best system currently so it’s the one to use.
I have a friend that wanted to start a lawn care business. He invested in the equipment and he began to make the connections to give him the jobs he would need to sustain his business. He could have gone to work for one of the big companies in the area, but he had the desire to venture out on his own.
When entrepreneurs invest in their dreams, they are considered braved. When authors invest in their dreams they are considered an “insult to the written word.” How does that make sense?
The traditional publishing industry has ALWAYS been flawed. The great THEY are not as interested in finding the quality works as they are in making the bucks. If nothing else has taught us this lesson then the 30 Shades should. It doesn’t have to be a quality work for the traditional industry to put it on the shelves. The traditional publishing industry has to believe it will make them money – and the more money the better.
What this means for the new author is that there is no chance to break through. Unless the new author has a great platform or happens to hit a hot trend, then the chance of the words being seen – going through these traditional gatekeepers – is almost nil. It matters little how much time has been invested honing the craft or how well the manuscript reads. THEY determine what is good – based on how much THEY will make.
3. Bad work gets self-published because it’s easy.
The author of the article uses the example of bad music being produced. I would argue that bad music is produced EVERY DAY. Some people like the bad music, which is why it’s produced.
The same goes for books. Bad books are published every day. If readers want to read the bad books then they do. If they don’t, then they don’t.
And it may be easy to self-publish a work, but not everyone can, or will, do it.
4. A good writer should be able to get a publishing contract.
I have been reading and following some of the top independent authors for a while now and they seem to have little focus on traditionally publishing most of their works. They do so for some things and they don’t for others.
I have seen traditionally published authors determine to take the independent publishing route for a new work.
Some people want to retain control of their work of art instead of handing it over to the great THEY – the gatekeepers, as Gough calls them. It is not a matter of being good enough, or valuable enough, or polished enough. It is a choice.
These were the four main points that I found Gough expressed in her article. There are probably more, but her opinion changes nothing about the independent publishing movement. It is a choice – plain and simple. It is a choice for the writer and it’s a choice for the reader.
Writing is a personal journey requiring courage and determination. Courage to take the steps you need to reach your goals. Determination to keep going no matter what THEY say
Do you believe – like Gough – that self-publishing is a short-cut, or do you think that the independent path is just a new direction for the industry? Kristen Lamb is another author that is speaking out in support of the self-publishing industry by trying to remind us all that sometimes is about finding our own way instead of following the way of all the other sheep.
Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Do you want to pursue your own independent publishing path?
We can help. Peculiar Productions provides complete professional services while leaving you in control of your words.