So, where have I been lately? I really have no excuses for not blogging, although I can tell you a lot of exciting things have been going on. I found out my baby is a boy, my third mystery night play at the library was a success, and I’ve been finishing my Grapemo obligations. Only a few more weeks and the novel I have worked on for the last two years will be done – the first draft, anyway. I finally dug in my heels, pushed away other writing projects, and fearlessly drafted until now, the home stretch.
I know what I need to do next: create a product that shines, and I have a plan for revision and beta reading to follow. (My readers know who they are!) So my publishing decision is still far away, and will probably come after the delivery of my human project in July. But I can’t help thinking about it, often when I’m at work and talking to patrons about the future of reading, especially with e-readers and tablets so prevalent now as a delivery device. What’s the best way to get my book out there to readers?
At our last Sisters in Crime meeting, we watched this YouTube video from author Libby Fischer Hellmann, titled “To E or Not to E.” A lively discussion ensued. It is worth a watch if you want the basics, the pros and cons of why authors choose self-publishing or traditional publishing. I left the meeting feeling conflicted. There were enough reasons to pursue self-publishing as not to, and I was afraid that either way, I was going to compromise some of my beliefs regarding the current state of publishing in the world.
My most important problems remain:
I don’t want to be published with a publisher that doesn’t support libraries. How could I query a traditional agent, go through all the blood, sweat, and tears involved in finding someone who wants to sell me and my work, and then say to him or her, “I only want to be published through an institution that sells e-books to libraries?” This would eliminate five out of the Big Six, and I really don’t think an agent would go for that.
I’m not sure I want to support Amazon, either. Amazon, with their DRM, exclusivity agreements, and privacy issues with libraries, is not my favorite company right now. But if I do self-publish, I would never be able to sell anything if I didn’t make my book available on the Kindle. True, with control over my work, I could make it available in as many avenues as possible, including B&N, Smashwords, and Apple. I can potentially work with OverDrive to make it available to libraries, too. But Amazon as a distributor would be getting a lot of my profits.
There’s still a huge stigma regarding self-publishing. Despite all the “Kindle millionaires” out there, and the sales many self-published authors report, both the library world and the writing world still turn their nose up at self-published authors. And with good reason – many of those books are poorly edited and low-quality. I get plenty of solicitations in my e-mail and in my physical mailbox at the library, and even though I usually give those books a chance, it’s rare that I can read past the first page. Even writers who have traditionally published works occasionally put out unfortunate products. I know my book won’t be low-quality. I understand that not everyone will love it, and there will be bad reviews. But if it were self-published, I’d be hard-pressed to convince my peers that it’s worth a read.
I’m still thinking about these issues, but what do you think? Have you contemplated self-publishing or done it – why or why not? Is traditional publishing going to hold up in the future?
Photo from iamPatrick on Flickr via Creative Commons.