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A Writerly Debate

If you are a writer, or want to be, you may have a really certain opinion when it comes to self-publishing. People seem to love it or hate it, and few fall somewhere in between. Book clubs, writer’s federations and associations have heated debates about it. Is a book “credible” if it is considered self-published? What qualifies a book as “published” vs. “self-published” exactly? If a work is well-written, has a message that is worth sharing and needs to be on paper or on-line in order to share, is it less of a book than something that is on the shelf in a bookstore?

The thing is that sometimes, folks believe that anything that is self-published has to be crap. It’s true that a lot of self-published work is not well written, and may not be edited either (my first novel is an example of that). As a writer, we should all get better as we hone our skills, and make the journey from someone who calls themselves a writer to where they are recognized professionally. Just try getting certified; I did, it was worth it, and yes, it means that you prove yourself over and over again for that level of recognition. It took some darned hard work before PWAC certified me as a professional freelance writer, and then I hired an editor and designer to back me up so that what I write also looks good.

Here’s a good article from The New York Times about the self-publishing discussion.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/28/books/28selfpub.html?partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

2 comments:

George Maciver said...

No comment!

:D

Actually, I do. Self publishing is a good tool if you know how to use it. It's not a magic wand. If you know what's involved and understand that you are going to have to sell your own book, self publishing can be rewarding and fun.

If you think all you have to do is get self published and then sit back and watch the cheques rolling in, you're not going to enjoy the experience one little bit.

It also helps if your book is readable and well edited before having it published or no matter how much you promote it, it won't do much good if folks don't talk about it and pass your book on to their friends.

Did I say no comment earlier???

Pam Robertson said...

Thanks for your comment George - I am so glad you didn't stay silent. I agree with you that self-publishing is a tool - one way that we can get our works out to the masses.
Working with editors and designers allows someone who could be "just another writer" to produce work that is of excellent quality, and something that they can be proud of (and sell!).
I hope that work on your upcoming projects is going well!