Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Beware the Siren's Song of Self-Publishing

The world of self-publishing is pounding its chest from the top of the Empire State Building.  A critical mass of articles have been building over the course of the last few weeks from the Wall Street Journal, to USA Today, and yes, even on this blog.  Successful authors, like snake oil entrepreneurs, are avoiding traditional publishing and providing words to the masses for a piddly .99 cents. 

The Association of American Publishers, a group with information to share, released figures regarding the E-book business, "e-books grew from 0.6% of the total trade market share in 2008 to 6.4% in 2010. . . Total net revenue for 2010: $878 million with 144 million e-books sold."

A successful self-published author, Michael Prescott encourages participation in this madness, "It's a gold rush out there.  Forty Acres and a mule.  It's the best time for an independent writer to get out there."  My question for each of you is, get out there for what.  I will remind Michael and each of you that the "Gold Rush" was a lot of work.  And not a lot of fun.  And, to be honest, upon a careful reading of United States history, you will clearly see that the "Gold Rusharoony" was simply a propaganda scheme of the early eastern uppidy-ups to deal with overcrowded streets and museums.  "Hey Go West!  There is gold," Ms. Uppidy said.  The gullible turned west, while those left behind laughed and enjoyed the increased elbow room.  The newly anointed frontiers people were greeted with wolves, disease, cold, mountains, and indian tribes. 

The message in all of this . . . beware of the wild frontier of self-publishing.  Don't be seduced by the siren's call.  Every traditionally published a.k.a. "real author" had the privilege of passing through the refiners fire of rejection after rejection.  One such real author said, "In the end rejection made me feel better about myself.  Why take the easy way out?  Taking the easy way out would just seem dirty."

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