Elsewhere on the web I've been involved in a heated discussion about the benefits or not of the self-published route via such things as Kindle Direct Publishing.
That drove me to start a thread with the above title. I thought it could do with going on the blog, so here goes:
It seems that f you criticise self-publishing, then you're "arrogant".
If you PRAISE self-publishing you're open-minded, supportive etc etc.
Ask any of my students how supportive I am. I've been on the phone at 3 AM for a student. I've driven to London to plead with a publisher for a student. Overseas students have stayed at my home as a base when touring. I am there 24-7 for them all, the best and the worst, and I ran my school for ten years FREE,
This whole concept of SELF-Publishing, VANITY publishing, DIGITAL Publishing, POD publishing, KDP Publishing, REPRINTS in a digital format is horrible conflated but one thing is true
99.99% of FIRST-TIME, KDP, Self-published authors CANNOT WRITE.
They are massively far from ready, and, instead of learning their craft they look to blame an industry that DOES publish 100,000 titles a year as "not understanding them", or "Being elitist" or "too narrow-focussed"
100,000 titles a year, a million titles in ten years. If you cannot break into that million (you'd try for ten years wouldn't you, if you believed in yourself?") then maybe, MAYBE it's because you don't quite cut the mustard.
I absolutely LOVED playing soccer. I would have loved to have been an international star. Failing that I would have loved to play in the Premiership, or maybe Div 1. OK, then Div 2 or Conference Prem, or Conference South
BUT I WASN'T GOOD ENOUGH
That's all. I wasn't good enough. The guys who were good enough started as soon as they could walk (I was 15, too late) and they spent 2-3-4-5-6-7-8 hours a day every day, seven days a week to become good... and then as boys most were professionally coached, typically for ten solid years, and EVEN THEN only 1 in 10 makes it into the pro leagues.
Why should quality writing be any different?
Seriously guys, how hard do you think it is to become even a mid-list writer, a decent wordsmith who could sell a modest 5,000 of each title?
I'm accused of being arrogant because I've been traditionally published. Rubbish! I was a beginner too. I went 49 rejections before getting my first hit. Some of my early hits were TINY.
But I worked, worked, WORKED, my butt off. I started "trying to write" (I still have snippets) at age 19... a story about post-apocalypse Britain and I still remember the sexual pleasure (no less) of that first typewriter, those first lines.
I KNEW NOTHING.
I wrote hundreds, maybe a thousand poems in my twenties, completed a novel and sent it out. I pottered about through my thirties. Up to then I had never read a book on craft, never attended a lecture, and, TBH, didn't read an awful lot, and what I did was stuff like Dick Francis.
I was 39 when I wrote 41,000 words of an unfinished novel and entered it into a competition run by Ryman's. I made the short-list and was then ousted from it. But suddenly I had HOPE.
So I started buying how-to books, started writing short-stories (convinced I was a novelist and couldn't do shorts). I started going to writer's conferences (too scared to enter their comps at first) YEAR after YEAR after YEAR, and I started writing my daily life, so I would be writing-writing-writing all the time.