Saturday, February 7, 2015

YA Guy Rants about... Self-Publishing!

YA Guy's noticed a trend on the internet of late. (Or maybe it's been a trend for a long time, and I've been out of the loop.) It has to do with self-publishing versus traditional publishing, and it goes like this:

Self-publishing advocate (blogger, etc.) talks about how screwed up traditional publishing is. Then goes on to talk about what idiots the people are who don't self-publish. Then advises everyone who has half a brain to self-publish. Then says something else, though by that time I'm not paying attention anymore.

I've seen this in many places, but what really ticked me off was when I saw it on the blog of someone I know well (and who knows my book is traditionally published). He opined that the only "rational" choice is to self-publish.

In other words, I'm irrational. As is everyone else with books from traditional (large, small, whatever) publishers.


Look, I don't go around saying self-publishers are irrational. I don't say word one about the quality of their books, much less their brains. If people want to self-publish, it doesn't in any way threaten me, so why should I criticize their choice?

Do self-publishers feel threatened by traditionalists? Maybe. Do they feel envious? I don't know. Or are some of them just jerks who like to make fun of what other people are doing?

Beats me.

The reality is, the publishing world today offers a wealth of options. Depending on who you are, what you want, what you're willing to sacrifice (and all forms of publishing entail certain sacrifices), what you hope to gain, and a host of other factors, you'll make whatever decision you make. Sound advice from those who have tried one form of publishing or another is always welcome.

But can we stop acting like children? Can we stop with the name-calling and finger-pointing?

Okay, YA Guy's done. I'm going to go work on another irrational manuscript I irrationally hope someone equally irrational will irrationally decide to publish.


  1. I think I can speak intelligently on the various forms of publishing. I have self-published. I have published with a mid-size publisher but without an agent. I have published with a small, just-starting out indie publisher. And I have traditionally published with one of the Big 5 while represented by an agent.

    The fact is: There are MULTIPLE pros and cons to every method of publishing.

    Anybody who says that one method is THE ONLY RIGHT OR RATIONAL way to publish is clearly intent on justifying his own choice while covering his ears/eyes to everything that hasn't gone the way he wanted. In other words, Me thinks he doth protest too much.

  2. Thanks for putting this post together. I've spent more time than I probably should have pondering self-publishing, and most of the time, reading other people's posts on the subject do nothing but further my confusion. Most recently, I found someone saying they self-published because they couldn't afford traditional publishing. ??? Maybe I'm doing something wrong, but I thought with self-publishing the author pays for everything and with traditional publishing the publisher pays for everything. (Of course, you know as well as I, there are plenty of "optional" things the author can pay for.). Anyway, that confused me.

    Before I ever finished my novel, an author/editor told me not to self-publish because if I ever wanted to go with a traditional publisher it wouldn't look good that I had self-published. I don't think that's true now... if it ever was true. But I HAD to find a traditional publisher for my book or it would have never come out. I, personally, needed to have that OK from a publisher/editor telling me, "I like what you did here, and I'm going to invest my time and resources into making this happen." All right, no one ever said those exact words to me, but they're implied with every acceptance letter I've gotten.

    1. I totally get where you're coming from, Eric--and this is why it bothers me to find people criticizing others for their choice of publishing venue. There are innumerable reasons--all of them rational--to choose one form of publishing or another. Some people claim that because self-publishers command a greater percentage of the royalties, it's more lucrative--but since they also bear the burden of promotional and other costs, and because they typically have limited means of distribution (to libraries, bookstores, etc.), the higher royalty rate might not be as valuable as it seems. The bottom line is, I don't believe anyone should mock or belittle anyone else for the way they choose to publish. If people want to offer advice or stories based on their own experience, that's fine. But it's petty and stupid to do anything more.