Historical and Contemporary Romance Author

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

I’m tired of it. Just. Plain. Sick.

What’s getting my goat? The neverending stream of commentary on self-publishing vs traditional publishing. On one side, we have the self-publishing evangelists essentially telling authors they’re idiots to consider traditional publishing because they’ll only be taken advantage of and “there’s gold in them thar hills” if only they’ll give up their ridiculous desire for the validation of a contract. On the other, we have traditionally published authors bemoaning the race to the bottom in ebook pricing that’s ultimately going to impoverish everyone and also making snide comments about the lousy quality of books when the “gatekeepers” are removed.

Both sides here have a point. In some cases, an author may be better served financially by self-publishing (although most self-published authors, like most gold prospectors, won’t get rich by doing it). And there certainly ARE valid concerns about ebook pricing and, I’m gonna be honest, the quality of self-published books. (I would like to be able to state with categorical certainty that my self-published books are as good as or better than anything put out by a traditional print or digital-first publisher, but frankly, I’m not that cocky. I work hard to ensure they are well edited, with an absolute minimum of typos and so forth, but I can’t guarantee content editing that will ensure the book appeals to everyone–but then, neither can publishing houses.)

But you know what? I don’t CARE if both sides have a point. I’ve read all the arguments on both sides, over and over ad nauseum. And it’s time to move on.

Instead of spending so much time focusing on how books get published, can we please spend more time talking about how to create the best books possible, however they are published? And please, let’s stop bashing each other for choosing one publishing option over another. This doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game. In the end, we all want the same thing–great books at fair prices.


1 Comment

  • Evangeline October 8, 2011 at 12:51 am

    Agreed, but the high emotions are understandable: each cog in the machine has worked somewhat smoothly for years (author –> agent –> editor –> bookstore –> reader). Now that a bolt has sprung from the whistling machine (namely, the decline of big-box bookstores and the rise of e-books), things look rather out of control as agents open digital arms to supplement income, publishers scramble for e-publishing, authors worry over their “job” security and income, readers worry over quality, pricing, and DRM, etc.

    I admit that the conversations can grow overwhelming (should I self-publish, should I e-publish, should I still work within the traditional publishing model, can I do both, or all three, should I write what still sells to NY or write whatever I desire to write…and do I have the time and resources?!). As a result, I’ve tuned out most conversations to do with publishing and books, period, because the only concern I should have is to write my absolute best–no matter which path or paths I choose.


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