Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Is E publishing all it's cracked up to be?

This is question I posed in one of my writers groups last night.
I'm an aspiring writer. I've had numerous rejections, and on reading my work objectively I can see why. I certainly will never give up trying to improve it.
So this is a hard question for me to ask.
Is this relatively new fashion of electronic and free/subsided publishing simply another variant of vanity publishing? We've all heard of self-published writers selling huge numbers of books through the usual electronic channels. But can anybody really name more than a handful? Is this just the only route through which a lot of writers, possibly myself included, will ever be published?
I know a lot of people say that traditional publishing is now forever changed and that is a good thing. But as much as I'd like to see my books in electronic print it could never compare with the joy of seeing a novel I've written being accepted by a traditional publishing house.
Am I just being old and cynical?
   The reason I ask this is because we've all seen the vast quantities of dross that is being self-published now. I'm not trying to present myself as a superb writer. My work is improving and I'm realistic enough to know there's a good chance I'll never be published. However it has to be said that a lot of the stuff out there is absolute rubbish.
  Within a couple of years there will be so much that it might be almost impossible, unless one know the style of an individual writer, to find anything worth reading. And I know the publishers trample unmercifully over the writer, giving him/her almost nothing in the way of royalties, but at least the vast majority of books in shops are presented with an understandable plot, grammatically correct manner with a semblance of good punctuation.
  I realise that this makes me sound pretentious but I'm worried about book publishing as a whole.


  1. Yes, there is "dross" hanging from the trees. I realize that I have no real hope of publishing my work. I too have read some real stinkers. I must also point out that I've read some really fun material from self published authors in kindle format.

    While I believe that my material is better than some published authors, I realize that a published book is not just the work of the author. It is a team of many that push books through the publishing process. Key to success is a good copy edit and and editor. The process of editing is almost always bypassed in self publishing. Sure, you can spend thousands of dollars in vanity fees, but what's the point?
    Without the massive PR campaigns behind a book, it has little chance to succeed.

    I just read the first in a series called "Area 51" by Robert Doherty and Bob Mayer. I have a hard time accepting that this is considered good "science fiction" by so many. But when you consider the name of the series and the publisher behind it, I suppose that many people are hooked before they purchase the first volume.

    So, my question to everyone out there is this, why not self publish? It is a work of love, not one born for fortune or fame. Give it your best shot! Perhaps someone will be kind enough give you enough feedback to improve your writing.

    Michelle Stone

  2. This concept is also debated by publishers and agents. So many bookstores are closing. Ratings are fictional, as friends and family can give high ratings to crappy books. Self-publishing just needs some decent controls.

  3. I believe that ultimately some so-called experts will create web sites extolling the virtues of good self published books and trashing the rest. Yet such research would take years and who would listen? No one is ever going to admit that their work is, even below par. For better or worse while self publishing is cheap or free it's going to be here for a long time.