Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Truth about Articles on Self-Publishing

I found this link through Nathan Bransford's blog. Last week (I think it was last week), CNN posted an article about self-publishing. The journalist selected two authors who had found success through self-publishing their books (though one of them had a best-selling book after it was picked up by a traditional publisher). By presenting only one side of the story, the journalist made it sound as though self-publishing was a vast improvement over traditional publishing for the typical author.

Here's the other side of the story, as presented by Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware! Blogs. Strauss shows how articles about self-publishing are constructed; facts are omitted, and quotes are chosen to present only one side of the story. No matter what the subject, writing an article this way while purporting to be objective is just plain wrong. As Strauss points out, journalists have a responsibility to present both sides of a story; whatever happened to that?

A couple other things I'd like to mention about self-publishing; I think by making it so "easy" to publish a book, it allows authors to get by without pushing themselves to improve. Furthermore, there's still a need for someone to screen all of these books to separate the wheat from the chaff--what editors and agents do now. Some authors may find self-publishing useful, but many may be better off with the traditional route. Traditional publishing may evolve, but I don't think it will disappear anytime soon--and that's a good thing.


Christine Fonseca said...

As someone who has really checked out the self-publishing route, I can say I really appreciate your post (and yes, I am going to try to get published using the traditional route!!!)

Nice post.

Tara Maya said...

The media angle is obvious: Man Bites Dog sells more and so does Self-Published Makes Millions. I do believe that the publishing model is changing in response to new media. But I suspect people who think that means middlemen such as agents or publishers will disappear are mistaken.

Kat Harris said...

Here's the link to the original story CNN did:

I found it to be an incredibly interesting story.

I certainly agree with you that you can (usually) tell by the quality of the writing when books have been self-pubbed.

Windsong said...

Very true. You never see the media talking about all the work self-pubbed authors have to go through to make sells. And the fact that it's a lot like gambling. The lights go off and whistles start blowing when someone makes it big, but people don't see the thousands that end up walking away with nothing.

Research is always a good thing. :) Unbiased reasearch is better.

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