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Thread: Is There Still the Stigma Around Self-Publishing?

  1. #26

  2. #27
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Cobalt, KK has been banned for spamming us with his publishing "services", so he won't be able to answer your question, I'm afraid.

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Kindle King View Post
    I think there is still a stigma attached to self publishing, but only by 'book snobs', if you market your books correctly they can still be great.
    Only if they are good books. Therein lies the "stigma". An awful pile of pure dreck gets self-published, and every one of the authors of such is convinced that their particular contribution to the pile of dreck deserves a Pulitzer, at minimum. You can market the bejesus out of dreck, and it's still dreck, and unlikely to succeed.

    caw
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  4. #29
    figuring it all out Fantomas's Avatar
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    I can only speak as a reader, but if I see a book if I see an e-book that looks interesting, especially if the cover and first few pages look professional, I won't think twice if it's self-published or not. I've read good self-published books (although the worst novel I ever read was also self-published) but the same can be said about traditionally published. There are many reasons why good books get turned down and why authors go into self-publishing.

    I think because of the Kindle, Nook, etc, it's much more easy to actually read a self-published book, which has lowered the stigma attached to it.

  5. #30
    practical experience, FTW Maze Runner's Avatar
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    I think there's still a stigma. But I'll agree with what was said somewhere upthread that, in my experience, it would have been better for me to self publish than to attach myself where I have. I'd say the stigma is reflected more with non writers than with writers. Writers know that getting a contract with some micro pubs isn't all that difficult, and as far as self-publishing, they know that there but for the grace of some god or another go I.

    When you get the first contract offer it can seem like a great thing, and sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't. I'd advise anyone who knows how to self-promote on the net to not jump at the first offer, and unless you can get a good agent, or you can publish with a House that's really going to put some elbow grease into promotion, DIY.
    Last edited by Maze Runner; 09-29-2017 at 03:44 AM. Reason: racked with typos - times 2

  6. #31
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin insolentlad's Avatar
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    Book publishing seems to be going the same direction as the music industry, where self-releases are not only common but expected from musical acts/artists. There is no stigma there at all that I have noted and long tradition of DIY. Of course, a performing musician typically gets a lot more exposure of and feedback on their product before putting it out there.

  7. #32
    Becoming a laptop-human hybrid Fuchsia Groan's Avatar
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    When I think about self-publishing, the main disadvantage isn't the stigma. It's the lack of distribution, the challenge of finding readers. The steepness of that challenge seems to depend heavily on your pre-existing readership (if any), your genre/category, and the ease with which you navigate e-book marketing. I don't think I understood just how much a publisher's sales/distribution network matters until I started seeing pictures of my book on shelves, all over the U.S. and way beyond. If I were writing in a category that sells like hotcakes in digital format, though, having books on shelves wouldn't be such a concern.

    In my experience, many readers don't know the names of the smaller presses or even of the smaller Big Five imprints, so it's not easy for them to spot self-published books, much less apply a stigma to them. They go by contextual clues like "Is this book on a store shelf?" Many a time I have brought a bunch of review copies into the office, and colleagues have asked about each one, "Is it self-published?" They know it's a common thing, but can't recognize it.

    OTOH, if you do something like put your cover blurb in all caps, there is a good chance people will guess the book is self-published, and the design flaws will reinforce their negative preconceptions (if they have any). If the book is well designed and well edited, they might never guess, or they might revise their preconceptions.

    Me, I've seen so many books, including very accomplished self-published ones by hybrid authors, that I keep an open mind. I will say that I don't see a big quality difference between the average self-published book and the average very-small-press book. In both cases, the reader can usually figure out why this book didn't get a better deal, but may still enjoy the book. Both categories might have great editing, or (seemingly) none. Both have their outliers, good and bad. But the very worst books are on the self-published/vanity side.
    Last edited by Fuchsia Groan; 10-08-2017 at 10:29 PM.
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  8. #33
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    From an interview with a major New York agent, in Poets & Writers, on self-publishing:

    without the marketing and publicity piece provided by publishers, you really aren’t doing much more than making the work available. This is the problem of self-publishing. Unless you have an enormous platform of your own, or a huge social media footprint, or a way to make your self-published work go viral, it’s like dropping it down a well.
    The media stories that you hear about the wildly successful experience of self-publishing are usually three or four titles a year. Those are not great odds. They’re just not. The odds of being published by one of the mainstream publishers in New York and having your book actually sell a decent number of copies are pretty long too. Which makes you realize how much longer those odds are when you take out the marketing and publicity piece, or the triage of agents and editors, or all the other things that come from having a physical book in bookstores.


    I'm not noting the agent's name here, but you can check the link. It's a long interview, but a very good one.

    https://www.pw.org/content/agents_ed...article_page=5

    caw
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  9. #34
    Heckuva good sport frimble3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fantomas View Post
    I can only speak as a reader, but if I see a book if I see an e-book that looks interesting, especially if the cover and first few pages look professional, I won't think twice if it's self-published or not. I've read good self-published books (although the worst novel I ever read was also self-published) but the same can be said about traditionally published.
    I didn't even get what 'self-published' meant until I came to AW. I'm chiefly a reader, not a writer. I assumed 'self-published' was for fan-fiction, or collections of family stories, etc. Private stuff.
    However, I believe essentially what Fantomas said. If the cover and the first pages I read look polished and professional, I won't even look to see if it's self-published. If the cover looks hand-drawn in a Paint program,
    and the first few pages are full of errors, or really bad writing, yeah, I check, if not specifically for 'self=publishing' then to see who published this mess.

  10. #35
    practical experience, FTW Bryan Methods's Avatar
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    In my experience, there certainly is still a stigma that persists. When I talk to writers, I always notice that one of the first questions asked is, "Who are you published by?" And if someone answers that they self-publish, you can almost see them getting mentally pigeon-holed by the others.

    There are still undoubtedly the huge success stories from self-publishing, and the people who beyond a shadow of doubt do better financially through selling their own novels rather than going through traditional publishing, but there are thousands more that never see a profit, even after spending quite a bit.

    Plus even if it's unwarranted, you will have some people who hear a publisher has taken on and published a book and assume that it must then be of a higher quality than something that never got accepted through traditional routes.
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  11. #36
    practical experience, FTW Jan74's Avatar
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    I don't think there is a stigma, or maybe I hope there isn't. To me writing is similar to music, artists no longer require a record deal to get recognized. Does this mean the market is saturated with "junk" maybe, but its a free market and I think its great news that publishing houses no longer control what gets published. People can blog their writing, self publish etc, writers, even if its BAD writing, have a chance to get their works out there for review. There are editing agencies that will help a writer prepare for self publishing etc and tonnes of cover art for sale. Browsing cover art really helps me get motivated and carry on.

    I have a great deal of respect for self published authors, they have spent their own money making their dreams come true, and it takes alot of guts to publish something on your own without a publishing house to back you up. I love seeing self published authors. I love the idea of having complete control over my title, my cover and not sharing the royalties.

    So for an answer to is there a stigma, I think its the opposite. I'm a prolific reader, and being self published does not have any bearing on if I like a book. My only problem is I read books from the library and not online, so if they aren't in print I can't get them, but I've seen many many many books on amazon that are kindle only and I've thought the sneak peaks were fabulous. One day I will get with the times and purchase a kindle so I can support those self published authors.
    Last edited by Jan74; 10-09-2017 at 08:07 PM.

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  12. #37
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    The only self published books I've ever read were by friends who self published. Honestly, most were like the early or not-quite-ripe works of more established authors. They had their good points, they just weren't ready in my opinion. Back in the day, those books might have ended up in a drawer until the writer was more mature and revised, or the stories were forgotten altogether.

    I expect most authors in future will be hybrid, so I don't dis self-publishing at all. But I think in its current form, it encourages too many people to send out immature work too early. In that sense, it does have a stigma to me.

    My book club never chose a self published book. Once I asked them about the issue. The members didn't see the point of digging through self published stuff when there are so many good regularly published books out there. This was a group of educated and discerning (and fun!) women, and we read everything from Stephen King through to literary stuff, so they weren't snobby about books. They loved books. But with so much to wade through, why bother with self pubbed ones? Another stigma.

    We're still fortunate enough to have a bookshop in my part of town, and I asked the owners about this issue. They don't stock self pubbed books, and even with trad published stuff, they said a book needs a big publisher or it will just get drowned out. There is just too much out there, too many new releases every year.

    It's tough all over, so do what works for you. But yes, I do think there's a general stigma among some readers about self published work. Some of the big successes got truly big after they were picked up by big houses.

  13. #38
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    I don't think self published books have a stigma, because I don't believe the vast majority of readers care or can even tell if a book is self published.

    Of course, if a self published book is poorly published, it's easy to say "ha ha, what a delusional loser". But if a self published book is published well (and really, baring finance problems, there is zero reason it shouldn't be), the vast majority of readers won't care. Or even realise.

    It's like plenty of other DIY things. If you catch 20 seconds of an album for an independent band, and you like what you hear, you're not going to not buy it because its indie. Or if you see a great trailer for an indie film, you're not going to not see it because its indie.

    I really think people focus way too much on self vs trade publishing. Now that self publishers can basically replicate the process with not that much money (relative to normal business expenses), the distinction is kind of irrelevant. It's better to focus on publishing well vs publishing poorly.

  14. #39
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    Yes, and with good reason.

  15. #40
    Perpetually in transit Helix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azkaellion View Post
    Yes, and with good reason.
    Perhaps you could elucidate.


  16. #41
    please distract me mccardey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azkaellion View Post
    Yes, and with good reason.
    Quote Originally Posted by Helix View Post
    Perhaps you could elucidate.
    Preferably without completely stomping on AW's one and only rule... (RYFW)

  17. #42
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azkaellion View Post
    Yes, and with good reason.
    Azkaellion, you're new here, so I'm going to explain things carefully.

    Don't make blanket statements like that without explaining them. It doesn't help foster discussion.

    Don't make statements like that unless you can prove your point.

    Many of our members have self-published good books with great success, and you're sneering at them here. Don't. We have one rule at AW: respect your fellow writer. If you can't manage that, you're not welcome here. Thanks.

  18. #43
    from words to worlds zmethos's Avatar
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    I started out self-publishing, then had a couple books picked up by small publishers. My self-published books have sold better, but I won't deny there was a feeling of validation over having a publisher pluck my work out of the pile. Still, I don't think I'd go with a small publisher again--or, rather, I'd be way more selective about which publisher I contracted with now that I know better what to look for. Now I have an agent shopping my current manuscript, though, so hopefully I've leveled up again.

    As for stigma, I don't usually feel it around my self-published books, but I will say I see many readers on various Facebook pages saying they've had terrible experiences with self-published books and won't buy them any more. So that's a real shame. People get burned and then don't want to give self-published books another chance. We [self-published authors] get lumped into one big basket of "not good enough to be 'real' authors" or something. Not saying I believe that, just saying I've seen that attitude. It's by no means a pervasive feeling, but it's something I see pop up semi-regularly. Readers rant about typos and poor editing, and that's very fair. As a reader, I don't like those things either. But as a writer, this idea about the poor quality of self-published work is something I sometimes have to battle.

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