Self-Publishing is an Option, Not a Stepping Stone
Seems I opened up a can o’ worms or two with my post yesterday. I don’t have all the answers, but I’ll do my best to clear up a couple of things. There were some questions about whether self-publishing would ever lose its stigma. Truthfully, I don’t think the stigma will fade until most self and indie products are perceived as having the same level of quality as traditionally published books—in writing/editorial quality as well as interior/exterior design. (See this post about self-publishing where I explain my position on this.) I don’t know if it will ever happen.
(But ask yourself where the stigma lies. I think it’s primarily with those of us who live and breathe writing and publishing. But many readers and book-buyers, not connected in any way with the publishing industry, are probably not very aware of any supposed stigma. They either like a book or they don’t, and they don’t care who the publisher was.)
Yesterday when I was pondering future alternatives for getting your work published, I said that smaller independent publishing and self-publishing would:
→ be a viable option for you to get your book out there where people could read it
→ allow you to target a niche market, possibly more effectively than a big publisher would
I didn’t say smaller independent publishing and self-publishing would:
→ have any more prestige than it does today
→ help you get a book deal with a major traditional publisher
Notice I specifically avoided talking about that. I wasn’t saying or implying that self-publishing would somehow become a more viable road toward traditional royalty-paying publishing. I was talking about it being an alternative, an end in itself, a way for your book to reach readers. Period. Don’t look at it as a stepping-stone. It’s possible for it to work out that way, but truthfully, most self-pubbed works don’t gain the attention of a major editor or agent and go on to sell through the regular channels.
What I meant to convey was that there are alternatives for getting your book published… you’re not stuck with only one route. But self/indie publishing is basically a different business than the major New York-based publishing world. One doesn’t lead to the other. They’re just options. But more and more savvy writers with a passion to share their message or story are doing really amazing things with these alternative routes… selling lots of books and reaching lots of people. Don’t discount it as a possible way to get your work out there.
Rachelle Gardner is a Christian literary agent with limited crystal-ball abilities.