A 2016 Huffington Post article got my attention and in a big way too. Even the title got my blood boiling: Self-Publishing: An Insult To The Written Word?

I vehemently disagree, and for so many reasons.

Reason #1: Guard that gate with your life.

“To get a book published in the traditional way, and for people to actually respect it and want to read it — you have to go through the gatekeepers of agents, publishers, editors, national and international reviewers. These gatekeepers are assessing whether or not your work is any good.”

This notion that “making it past the gatekeepers” is some sort of necessary rite of passage because everyone else had to do it this way for years, is stale and massively outdated in today’s landscape of innovating on your own terms and not waiting for permission.

This reminds me of the unspoken reasons that medical students are nearly worked to death and film crews work around the clock to come in on budget – “because it has always been done this way.”

Reason #2: Well of course quality matters.

“Good writers only become good because they’ve undertaken an apprenticeship. The craft of writing is a life’s work.”

Agreed. But what is the implied connection between quality and how an author chooses to print, distribute, and market his or her book?

When consulting with a new author and they invariably ask me if they should self or traditionally publish their book. I immediately ask about their ultimate goals for the book. For entrepreneurs (the majority of our client base) I find out how it fits into their business and marketing plan.

Publishing is a business decision, not necessarily a reflection of the quality of the work. The only reflection of a book’s quality is in the work itself and that is something for which the author holds total responsibility.

In addition, there are many other factors that publishers consider when deciding whether or not to publish a book, like projected sales, the author’s existing network, right topic and timing for the marketplace, and uniqueness of subject matter.

Yes, there are self-published books that are crap. There are traditionally published books that are also crap. The method of publishing isn’t the problem. If the author takes the time to respect the craft, get the help they need to do it right, and has a clear purpose for publishing a book, the vehicle is merely the way that the book will get into readers’ hands.

Reason #3: Don’t be an insult then.

“…self-publishing is an insult to the written word, the craft of writing, and the tradition of literature.”

No, authors who don’t take seriously the process of writing, editing, and marketing a book is where the insult lies, not in the matter of the printing and distribution of their book.

Reason #4: It’s up to us as authors to ADD value!

“With the firestorm of self-published books unleashed on the world, I fear that writing itself is becoming devalued.”

It won’t become devalued if we continue spreading the gospel of quality. The link can and will be broken between “self-publishing” and “bad” if all authors, no matter what their publishing plan, commit to the integrity of the entire process of writing, editing, publishing, and marketing a book.

Rather than bashing the method of publishing, why not work harder to educate the public about what it truly takes to produce a quality book – and then help them do exactly that?

If you agree with my message, I would encourage you to please SHARE this post with other authors and aspiring ones too. Let’s spread the “gospel of quality.” Together, we can break the link between “self-publishing “ and “bad” and stop the self-publishing stigma!


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