This article in Salon is about the selfpubbed author love affair with Amazon, and while I don’t necessarily agree with all of its conclusions (the language also very, very clearly is not talking to the self-published), this excerpt did make me laugh:
One reason for the crossed wires here is that most self-published authors really, really, really hate traditional publishing, which has either rejected them or (in the case of authors who use Amazon to make their out-of-print titles available once more), let them down. The intense rage such experiences instill can lead to strange glitches in logic, such as the charge that it is publishers who have engaged in “monopolistic” practices because not everyone who wants to publish with a traditional house has succeeded in winning a contract.
“Big Pub basically runs its own monopoly over writers,” a commenter on a New York Times article retorted, and I received an email about the Amazon-Hachette clash in which the writer complained of “the impossibility of a non-NYC writer just getting his foot in the door without sleeping with professors, visiting authors, publishers; without an M.F.A.; or without publications in major magazines (100 percent of which are supplied by agents). Talk about monopolistic!”
Jesus. Looks like I’m going to be really busy when I’m in NYC later this year. Apparently I have a lot of work to catch up on, of which “earning an MFA” and “publications in major magazines” are only the beginning.
Seriously, to any despairing writers out there trying to do the whole “break into New York” thing: I’m Australian; I’ve never been to the US, let alone New York; I studied computer science and politics at university; and I have no formal publication credits to my name except for, like, an acrostic poem circa age 6. I literally started with nothing but a manuscript and a list of agents I Googled. (And, honestly, I still don’t have much, but I do have a signed contract with RANDOM HOUSE printed on the top–it arrived in the mail the other day, in fact, along with My First Advance Cheque–which is the milestone under discussion.)
So it is possible. Truly.
Self-publish if you want to self-publish. It’s honestly something that’s on my Authorial Career Bucket List, if only to see how the process has matured since circa 2006, and because I think it could be fun.
But don’t fall into the trap of telling yourself selfpub is the “only” option because [insert rant about tradpub here]. Self publish because you want to, because you like the control, because you think it’s the best option for your work. Do it for positive reasons, in other words. Not just bitterness over a folder of rejection letters.