Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Traditional or Self Publish: Game Changer

Inertia: A tendency to remain in a fixed condition without change; disinclination to move or act.

I've always valued open-mindedness. Critical thinking and viewing all sides before coming to a conclusion is the more logical path for me. Yet the subject of self-publishing took on a vivid black and white philosophy that didn't include fence sitting. True confession: I believed self-publication was an act of desperation.

Way back in the days before electronic publishing, self-publishing existed in print format. For a tidy sum one could pay to publish their book. Prices varied depending on the package, some upwards of a few thousand dollars. I checked it out once and when I saw it cost money that I didn't have, I took a pass. Preferring to take the traditional path didn't cost me a single penny - just tons of angst (and I'm not including fees for contests and writing workshops, etc. Those were necessary learning tools). Plus, for me selling to a traditional publisher would give me a huge sense of accomplishment.

I still feel that way, but lately I've considered changing my views of those who choose the self-publishing road. Many of my writer friends, who got closer to a traditional publisher's door than I ever did, have gone the self route. Many of these writers are excellent and extremely passionate about the craft, especially this one. It's just that the luck pendulum never swung in their direction. You know - right time; right place, etc. Thus, rather than leave their babies tucked away on the hard drive, they've unleashed them to the highway of electronic readers, circumventing the traditional route. Plus, they're making money and hopefully enough to justify their choice. (Side note: Those who print self-published of yesteryear most likely didn't recoup their investment.)

And who am I to denounce them for their choice? (A smug snob, that's who.)

Perhaps sometimes it isn't about how to publish but choosing to. Not all who choose the self-published route do so because they're sick of rejection. Not all do so out of desperation.

Maybe they just want to be read. And this notion struck me with brute force recently like a divine intervention. It makes me want to purchase a Kindle (again) so I might read the works by very talented writers. And maybe one day some of them will want to read my works...

That is if I have the nerve to put myself out there. And there's the rub. The self-published author possesses insurmountable courage. They have unleashed their babies for all to praise or call "meh." The latter scares me. Still, the self-published authors of the world , at least some, haven't let the "meh" reviews discourage them.

I wonder if self-publishing fulfills a desire for writers to see their hard work to fruition, which makes me question my former feelings about self-publishing. That's a good thing because to stop self-questioning is a dreadful form of inertia.

All said, I must step up and honor my fellow writers who choose self-publication. It's not about the bling, but always about honoring the art and thyself.

Here's to change and growth! May I remain true to myself while embracing the choices of others.

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