Discussion: Self-Publishing


Every time National Novel Writing Month rolls around, talk of self-publishing crops up along with it. Lots of people I know have ambitions to self-publish the manuscript that they come up with throughout the month of November. Outside of the NaNo frenzy, of course, self-publishing seems to be the new craze. Many authors these days are taking publishing into their own hands to get the work out on the market to eager readers. Self-publishing that I’ve seen can be done through physical copies of your book (like CreateSpace), or through e-book versions of your story (on Amazon and  other platforms). Either way, it’s all the rage.

Now, as a foreword, I know that there are excellent writers out there who take time to polish what they have written and put on the market a product that they can be proud of. I’m sure those writers are out there. But when self-publishing becomes as prevalent as it is now and when it is so overly accessible to anyone who can type and use the internet, there is bound to be some shoddy work. This makes me nervous. Yes, the fervor for self-publishing could mean that I have a better chance of publishing something that I’ve written in a simpler way. But I’d really rather keep in place the system we have now.

A recent post on the blog entitled How Publishing Really Works shared my lament for the accessibility of publishing these days. The blogger there opens their post with something I hadn’t thought about — “When self-publishing becomes the only option, only the rich will be able to publish.” Those of who are not flush with cash, but might still have interesting ideas to write about and publish, will be lost in the fray. The blogger also makes an important, if unpopular, point — “We’d also have a lot more unreadable books. I’m sorry, but it’s true.”

So, what do you think about self-publishing? Is it a long-awaited equalizer in the world of the written word? Or is it an outlet that will make books more boring and less readable? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Editor, Mary Egan

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