We are watching a new era emerge in writing and, despite the controversy, it’s refreshing to see it happen. “Self-published” used to be a term of failure. It implied laziness, incompetence and even impatience. The ultimate goal was to see your work in print, so long as someone else did the printing.
Sadly, the traditional publishing industry is arguably “broken.” It is a common sentiment amid many writers that the field has been hijacked for office politics and perhaps even nepotism. I will not condone any certain theory on here, but this leads me to the primary topic, self-publishing.
Today, through such companies as Kindle and Pub-It (Barnesandnoble), authors are taking it upon themselves to skip the traditional “middlemen” of publishing. Perhaps this is the way it should be. No longer are decisions made by the gatekeepers (editors and agents), but the ultimate success will depend solely on the reader. As it should be. Readers are the lifeblood for any author and often it seems the industry views it somehow reversed. The reader is obligated to support their choices perpetually.
Sadly, it is common to see books from major publishers with typos, inconsistencies and other problems that even many newer authors can spot. These are the exact same things which people have always used against those who self-publish. This is no justification, just providing both sides of the argument.
I will end this post by saying: Are there poor quality self-published works? Absolutely. Does that poor quality include both print and electronic mediums? You better believe it. Will a book be perfect if it’s published traditionally? Most avid readers will wholeheartedly say “not necessarily.” Sometimes it seems as if even the publisher doesn’t read the book prior to printing it.
So, what’s a reader to do? What’s a writer to do? Readers should be encouraged to explore even self-published works as they may be surprised. Writers should be encouraged to at least explore the realm of self-publishing prior to reaching a formal decision. If the reader truly does provide the writer with their paycheck, and the writer appreciates this and wants to create the best product possible, perhaps this situation does not require a middleman to mediate.