Lately, a number of writers have chosen to self-publish their work. Self-publishing isn’t new but with all the e-publishing options becoming available, there’s far more democracy to publishing and self-publishing than ever before. It doesn’t take much to get a book listed on Amazon or Barnes & Noble or the Apple Bookstore and with a few clicks of the mouse, you are your own publisher. Some of these self publishing writers say that they’re circumventing mainstream publishing as if they are self-publishing by choice, not because they couldn’t get their work published any other way. Sometimes that is actually the case. Sometimes it is not. I have no problem with self-publishing. It is not an option I would choose for myself, mostly because I don’t have the time to do the work required of someone who self publishes. However, I don’t begrudge writers who do avail themselves of the self-publishing route and it can be a really interesting way of challenging the publishing establishment and getting your work out there without having to deal with some of the more problematic aspects of mainstream publishing. At the same time, just because you can do something does not mean you should.
I read this excerpted interview between Joe Konrath and Barry Eisler (full interview here), the latter who turned down a $500K deal with St. Martin’s to self-publish his book and I had a few thoughts: 1) Wait, what?; 2) He must be able to afford turning down half a million dollars; 3) I am not familiar with Barry Eisler; 4) I admire that kind of confidence; 5) He must have the reputation (the talent being implied by the size of the deal) to make more money publishing his book himself; and 6) Neat, ballsy. The interview itself was really interesting but man, I really think there are some writers who underestimate the power of a traditional publisher. I wonder about the direness of publishing implied by some of the comments. I wonder, wonder, wonder.