Okay, I’ll grant you that. There are some self-published books out there that aren’t really all that high on the quality. There are some books out there that are little more than web scrapes of sites and blogs with horrible cover slapped on it and sold as supercheap Kindle ebooks. There are others that are a bit better in quality that mean well, but…well…
But I’m not really going to talk about those.
I’m going to talk a little about the Little Novels That Could. The ones passed over by agents and editors because it didn’t catch them on the first couple of pages.
I always feel a little bit of a twitch when I read about writers who’ve plugged along, wrote multiple books but never received a bite from agents or publishers for years. I always think, but what if those books were actually good, but the author gave up on it because of rejections? There’s always that little bit of me that can’t stand that publication bottleneck. That gets irritated by reading articles by agents and editors who dismiss a submission after two pages. [To be honest, I think it partly stems from my deep irritation with faulty teaching methods, in this case the ‘I want you to do X but I’m not going to show you how to do it or give you any context’ method that I’ve encountered many times in my life. Again, that’s just me.] I always feel bad for writers who go their whole life trying to get published only to fail time and time again. I can’t help but think it’s not because they’re bad at it, just that their work doesn’t fit into the pre-cut shapes and expectations that mainstream publishing wants.
I know part of this twitch is also the indie nonconformist in me waiting to scream out oh yeah, well we’ll show them! I know it’s a lot more than that. It’s showing them by way of writing the best damn thing you can and putting it out yourself. It’s the payoff when you get new readers and fellow writers telling you they enjoyed your work. It may be a much smaller readership, maybe a few hundred readers instead of a few thousand, but it’s still worth it. Your story is out there, and someone, or several someones, have deemed it enjoyable.
Why do I keep harping on about how awesome self-publishing is? Well, one of the reasons is that I’m trying to help get rid of the stigma that’s been placed on it. Another is that — yes, I’ll say it yet again — it’s become a more respected outlet, especially over the last few years. And most importantly, I’m trying to tell other authors out there that it really is worth a try. That story that the pros weren’t all that into might be the same story that avid readers love. It may be a bit more expensive, it may require a lot more work, but the end result is more your vision, and something to be proud of.