After I put up that post on self publishing, I’m taking the self publishing plunge, I got a lot more feedback than I expected. People who barely knew what self publishing was, were congratulating me as if the book was up already.
(It is not up. Last lap. I am a week or so away.)
The most unexpected people were coming up to me to say, so you are self publishing. Even if they had no idea what it meant they still approved. Many were curious about the process. What is it, how does it work? They asked questions and listened when I tried to explain.
The few people who did not ask and, I learned later, did not approve, were writer friends. Self publishing is vanity publishing was their tired old mantra.
It was no use trying to tell them that the two are very different. In vanity publishing you pay a company to publish your book and then stash the pile of unsold books in your loft. Vanity publishing is not about readers at all – it’s just for the writer’s self satisfaction. There are plenty of people who just want to hold a book with their name on it. It makes no difference to them if anyone reads it or not. Usually no one does because quality does not count.
In self publishing you take your ebooks to market, and hope that readers will like them. You put up your goods. The readers decide. It’s all about the readers which means you have to produce the very best book you can and the moment is up, you are writing the next one.
It’s a new dream, not the old dream but for some it has not changed a bit.
They are still holding on to that old dream – the grand trio, finding a publisher, an agent and shelf space in a bookshop.
It is still possible.
You can find a publisher and you may not have to sell your soul.
You might get an agent – they have changed their tone of late and are talking of reaching out and communicating as never before.
Bookshelf space is not so easy with so many shops collapsing.
You can hold on to that dream. You can also deny ebooks and pretend that ebook readers don’t exist. Only the good old things, the dead tree books crammed into the eroding shelf space of the few remaining bookshops for them.
There was a time when I wanted to see my book on bookshop shelves too.
I did get to see it.
For a day or two at most.
Most bookshops order one or two copies and when those are sold, they just don’t re-order. On an electronic shelf, online, you book is there for as long as you please, or forever. No one will soil it. No one will return boxes of it to the publisher. No one will tear off the cover and junk it.
And I don’t have to live around the corner to the bookstore to find and read books from all over the world. I don’t even have to go to the bookstore. It comes to me.
But you just can’t please everyone.
Least if all writer friends who can’t understand why you are wasting your time painting your own cover when you could be writing another trying-not-to-be-desperate query letter which, most likely, will go unanswered or just add to that shoebox of refusals.
Been there, did my time.
It’s a different world now.