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View Full Version : [Article]The Great Underground Myth: Why Self Publishing Doesn’t Work



Izz
12-06-2009, 02:21 PM
I don't think this most excellent article (which i got to from Old Hack's How Publishing Really Works (http://howpublishingreallyworks.blogspot.com/) blog) has been linked to from here yet, but it should be. Even though most of us already know this, i think the article is a great one to point people at when we don't have the time to explain what the real deal is.

Anyway, here it is: The Great Underground Myth: Why Self Publishing Doesn't Work (http://www.3ammagazine.com/3am/the-great-underground-myth-why-self-publishing-doesnt-work/).

While the article's author uses the term self publishing, he is generally referring to vanity publishing, but uses the term because the two have become so intertwined.

Perhaps my favorite paragraph:

Our old friend G.P. Taylor writes that ‘The writer has now, thanks to the advent of the internet and email, a publishing house at their fingertips.’ This line nicely illustrates the delusions people have about the internet. Jane Smith is a lonely Cassandra in a sea of frothing bullshit. Writers’ message boards are full of people who believe that the internet is a tool allowing them to sell their work to an audience of millions without much effort on their part. Acres of webspace are filled with fantasies of the print novel being replaced by downloadable books read from screen and ‘bricks-and-mortar’ booksellers dying out.

Though this one might just inch it out:
And this is not surprising, for the criteria of self-publishing is not quality of work, but the authors’ ability to pay. Despite all its shortcomings mainstream publishers still pay to publish books by talented writers. And for all its multiplicity of names the model of self publishing is still that of the writer paying someone who will produce their book, regardless of quality. Selling and marketing a self published book takes time, and time costs money. For all its wide-eyed, slack-jawed futurism, self publishing is a return to the old model, where books were circulated around a wealthy elite, and to be a writer one either had to be rich or have a rich patron.

I think i am going to link people to this often.

gothicangel
12-06-2009, 02:45 PM
"Jane Smith is a lonely Cassandra in a sea of frothing bullshit."

I bet that's what he says to all the girls!

kaitie
12-06-2009, 05:45 PM
I caught this yesterday, too. It was an interesting article. This was the part I found most interesting:


One: why do self published writers only get recognition when they are picked up by the mainstream? And two: if self publishing is such a great new paradigm, why do self published authors sign up to corporate publishers as soon as they are given the opportunity?

gothicangel
12-06-2009, 06:48 PM
Hindsight?

Jamesaritchie
12-06-2009, 09:24 PM
I think almost complete lack of quality is one big factor, but there's another factor. There are already more books published commercially, more books that do have some sort of quality control, than any of us would be able to read in a hundred lifetimes.

There simply is no need for a second source of books, even if that source has quality.

Libbie
12-06-2009, 10:55 PM
I personally like the last line: Self-publishing is to publishing what alternative medicine is to medicine.

That says it all for me.

para
12-07-2009, 12:17 AM
Interesting article. There is a series of interesting articles on self publishing here: A Curmudgeon's guide to self-publishing (http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474977920418)

Matera the Mad
12-07-2009, 12:40 AM
I personally like the last line: Self-publishing is to publishing what alternative medicine is to medicine.

That says it all for me.
Ahm...you don't know much about alternative medicine, I take it? It's not all New Age Nancy Miracle Herbs.

It keeps me on my feet.

No, I don't like that quote at all. It's too much like the Holocaust/Amazon analogy.

Izz
12-07-2009, 12:45 AM
Ahm...you don't know much about alternative medicine, I take it? It's not all New Age Nancy Miracle Herbs.

It keeps me on my feet.

No, I don't like that quote at all. It's too much like the Holocaust/Amazon analogy.Yeah, i didn't like that line so much either. But the rest of the article is peachy good, imo.

JimmyB27
12-09-2009, 04:59 PM
Ahm...you don't know much about alternative medicine, I take it? It's not all New Age Nancy Miracle Herbs.

It keeps me on my feet.

No, I don't like that quote at all. It's too much like the Holocaust/Amazon analogy.
I think the quote is perfect. Not wanting to derail too much, but the thing about alternative medicine is that if it is proven to work, it becomes mainstream medicine. Like willowbark, for example (aspirin). Same is true of self-published works - if they are good enough, they become published works.
Great analogy, imho. Even down to how there probably are quite a lot of as yet unproven alternative medicines and unproven self-published writers out there.

Phaeal
12-09-2009, 07:43 PM
Ahm...you don't know much about alternative medicine, I take it? It's not all New Age Nancy Miracle Herbs.

It keeps me on my feet.

No, I don't like that quote at all. It's too much like the Holocaust/Amazon analogy.

Yeah, the alternative medicine line was a low blow. You might as well draw an analogy between nonalternative medicine and commercial publishing along the lines of: "Sometimes they operate on the wrong side. You know, like sometimes they publish crap."

blacbird
12-09-2009, 11:43 PM
Self-publishing is to publishing as astrology is to astronomy.*

caw


*in terms of novels, specifically, and not to include certain specialty niche kinds of work.

geardrops
12-09-2009, 11:55 PM
Self-publishing is to publishing what alternative medicine is to medicine.

Actually, if you think about it, this quote isn't really doing either side any favors.

Good article, though.