I have yet to be badly treated, personally, for self-publishing Been Blued, and the second title in the Martian Symbiont series, Martian Blues. The closest anybody came to nastiness was one lady I met who had worked in the publishing industry. She kind of sniffed with disdain when I mentioned my novel was a ‘supported self-publishing’ title. Since I won’t put up with haughtiness, I pointed out that Print On Demand (POD) technology was actually better for the environment than traditional publishing. She demanded that I explain. She already knew that ‘a lot’ of printing runs result in a significant amount of returned books that get repulped. She didn’t know it’s often as high as forty percent. With POD technology, books don’t get printed unless someone buys them. No warehousing and no shipping back and forth also helps the environment, not to mention the bottom line.
In reality, if anyone is the ultimate ‘gatekeeper’ of publishing, it is the reader. That’s why so many books end up getting repulped. The people who did buy them didn’t like them enough to recommend them or buy more to give away as gifts. So if an author chooses to ‘bypass the gatekeepers,’ she has done little more than ensure a reader has one more title to read or reject. The smarter publishing companies keep an eye open for self-published titles that become popular, in the hopes of finding a relatively risk free investment.
There’s one reason I went the self-publishing route that I haven’t included yet. Did you notice, the last time you were in a supermarket, or a mall, that clearance table full of books that people pick over? Some of them are notable titles, while others look like they should have been repulped before going to clearance. As a writer, it pains me to see that, but I’ll admit, I still go and look. I guess I’m hoping for a diamond in the roughage. But I didn’t want my books to end up there.
Thanks for reading. 🙂
Phyllis K Twombly.