Saturday, September 3, 2011

Saturday Discussions 17: The Self-Published Debate

Apparently I'm on a role for talking about touchy topics. Last week, I talked about my writer and blogger jealousy. This week, I want to talk about self-publishing as a writer and as a reader. I want to express that these are only my opinions and in no way are absolute or even completely correct. It's just how I feel.

I was asked by someone recently (Bookish Brunette) why I don't self publish. It's a fair question and something I've thought a lot about, especially recently. There are plenty of wonderful self-published authors that write amazing books so why shouldn't I try my hand? Well, I'll tell you why. I attended the This It Teen event in Miami and all the authors talked a little bit about their road to publication. Meg Cabot said something that really struck a chord with me and basically personified my feelings about self-publishing. She explained that she wrote a series before The Princess Diaries about a super hero gym teacher. She said that at the time, she loved it but looking back, she knew she wasn't a mature enough writer to get published. That novel was meant to teach her, not to be her first published piece. All of the authors agreed. They said that they needed everyone one of those unpublished novels to become the author they are today.

If you talk to any author, most of them will tell you about the manuscripts stuffed under their bed. We all have to start someplace and most of the time our first novels are meant to be learning experiences. Maybe even our second or third novels. The reason I don't self-publish is because I know that each and every book I write that doesn't get published will make me a better writer. They all teach me something new, challenge me in some unexpected way. Meg Cabot then said something else brilliant. She said that she'd be embarrassed had she self-published that first novel and when you looked her up, that was the first novel listed underneath her name. I think this is a really valid point. I want my first novel to be the best it can be, something I'm proud of. While my other novels are all things I'm proud to have written, they all needed work. It is this reason that I don't self-publish. I write to learn. One day, I will have learned enough for someone to want to print it. Then I'll deserve it.

As a reader, I do except self-published novels on an occasional bases. On  the whole, I find that self-pubbed novels are usually incredibly inventive and definitely have their merits. But, I notice that a lot of them are missing that incredible something that keeps me hooked. Granted, this could happen in a published novel too but I find that published novels tend to be smoother and have more kinks worked out. This is largelybecause many more pairs of eyes have combed over them, added their hands into the mix and helped create something captivating. Again, there are plenty of self-published novels that do not fit this mold. There are gripping, well written, imaginative, successful self-pub books out there and I'm proud to have read a few.

But as a writer, I understand that sometimes things need to sit a little longer. Somethings aren't meant to see the light of day. Unfortunately, there are plenty of self-published novels that fall into this category too and on a whole, that gives the others a bad name. I will definitely still continue reading self-pub books but I stand by my decision to pick only the ones that really interest me. As one blogger said, I am a reader not an agent sloshing through the slush pile.

So self-publishing can do a lot of good and it can do a lot of bad (as can published novels). I know that as a writer, it's not the right way for me to go.

What are your thoughts on self-publishing as a blog or writer or both?

Next week I'm going to be giving some advice to new bloggers so prepare to chime in!

Also, don't forget to check out my US giveaway of SOUL THIEF and my international giveaway of ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD.


  1. This is a touchy subject as there are a lot of self published novels floating about. I do not touch them. I can not give you a reason why other than I feel like it they were excellent writings they would have been picked up. I know it makes me a bit of a book snob and I don't mean to be, but there is just something about them that turns me away. Now, with that being said..I am not opposed to hopping on fan fiction and reading and thinking...Gee this is great stuff, these people should write LOL. I guess I expect less on fan fiction I don't know. Anyway, good luck with your writing, I think all of us bloggers have a bit of writing in us, I know I do,and I get my writing kicks on my blog and in a few other places.I also saw Meg Cabot speak recently and remembered her saying the same thing, she was a wonderful speaker and funny, she really kept my interest.

  2. I've given my two cents at my blog located here: but for some reason I can't link up. I'm pretty sure I'm doing something wrong.

    Thanks for such a great discussion topic and I totally agree with Meg Cabot's comment. I think a general rule of thumb for self pub authors is to wait at least six months, reread your work and decide whether it's publishing material.

  3. I will accept self published books to review on my blog but I am quite selective about what I accept.

    As a writer, I don't think I would self publish - I want to know that by book is right, as you and Meg Cabot said - I want to make sure it is the best it can be. If this book doesn't get published others might and I can always come back to it in years to come.

  4. Some of my favorite books ever are self pubs... :)


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