Out Louders, I have an important question,
Do you think that if your book is self-published that makes it not as good as if it were published by a publishing company?
The reason I’m asking is because I’ve noticed quite often when I’ve told people that my book is being published, they find a way to ask if I’m self-publishing it. Now I’m willing to believe that amongst those people, there are quite a few who are merely gathering information or maybe they’re just interested in the workings of the publishing industry.
But I’m also wondering if there are some amongst them who are trying to work out whether my book is worthy. Even these days when anyone and everyone is their own publisher, it still seems relevant to seek that sign of credibility, that gold standard that says – yes, an industry expert has deemed your book worthy of their investment, time and backing.
I’m Just As Bad
And it’s not as if I myself am immune to those thoughts – on the contrary, way back when I was thinking about how to get published, I opted in the first instance to find myself an agent so she could send it on to publishers. This felt like a much more frightening and therefore challenging proposition than simply going online, searching for an online publisher and doing the whole thing myself. Involving an independent, expert and experienced entity in my enterprise seemed to place everything on a different, shall we say, better level altogether.
But the thing is when it came to it even though I did find myself an agent which at the time was exciting (and I notice that I think it important that you know that), and felt like I’d arrived somewhere or other in a way, no one actually wanted to publish it. Oh, it was sent here, there and everywhere but if I think about it, I don’t believe there was even a glimmer of interest. Not one iota or even a jot. One publisher did suggest I pay them to publish it but I wasn’t in the mood to give them quite a lot of money to do what even I could see I could do myself.
So, I decided to publish my book which brings me to where I am today.
What I Discovered
If truth be told I’m utterly delighted to be doing this myself – it’s good fun and I get to make all the decisions and at this precise moment in time it seems irrelevant who or what has created the actual physical version of the book. I mean I’m the one who’s written it and I shall leave it up to you the reader to tell me if it’s worthy or not. It would feel a bit silly to not let you read it just because an anonymous reader somewhere in some publishing company doesn’t like it or decided it didn’t fit with their list or whatever.
I’m fine about it until I get asked that question which sends me off in to that place of doubt – not self-doubt exactly, just doubt. Or maybe it is self-doubt …
So, what do you think? If my book is self-published as opposed to published by a publisher does that mean it’s not as good?
You Don’t Actually Need Anyone Else’s Permission
I’m also wondering if you have a book that you’ve written that you think should only be read by other people if someone else tells you it can be? Can I invite you just for a millisecond to think about how daft that is? How waiting for someone else’s permission before you share your work would be as daft say, as letting someone else dictate what you wore today, or what flowers you decide to plant in your garden or whether you can tell someone about your great idea at work or whether people of a certain age or gender can do such and such or who you love …
Oh, hang on a minute …
In matters of this kind, in fact, in all matters, my recommendation would be, you don’t need anyone else’s permission to express yourself, be who you are, say what you think, stand out from the crowd, don’t stand out from the crowd, self-publish your book and in point of fact be published by a publishing company if that’s what you want. After all I’m no expert, I don’t know what you should do with your book.
What I am prepared to say though is be Out Loud in a way that works for you. If you want. It’s so much easier. And such a relief. But you don’t need me to tell you that.
Thank you for this honest account of your internal wrestling. You are down to earth and sharp and it’s great that you just did this. Thank you. Andy.
Thanks so much Andy – I’m so glad it speaks to you xx
Hi Rona – first of all, Congratulations on writing and publishing your book!! In this day and age where there are the tools to self-publish, I think: why not? The publishing business, like the music business, has changed in recent years, and they don’t like to spend any money unless they’re certain to make a fortune. And I ask myself whether that’s the business we’re in: making a fortune for some organisation that has done nothing to birth the product. The aim of writing a book like yours is to get the help to where it’s most needed – and your followers are your best allies in that respect. For my own project, I’ve decided to publish to a blog first, just to make sure I get it written, as it would be too easy for me to procrastinate otherwise! xx
Thanks so much Julia. And yes, the whole arena of publishing has changed and nowadays we are all our own publishers – I guess I’m interested in how some of us still perceive self publishing to be ‘not as good as’ etc and how funny that is … how that plays out in other areas where we seek permission to express ourselves to the world eg I’m not a ‘real’ artist until I’ve had a proper exhibition etc
Glad you’re doing your thing though with your blog, it’s so so good! xx
You are my hero! I needed to read this today. It raises a deep question for me about the places where I’m looking for permission and validation from others when I just need to give it to myself. Thanks for not only sharing your book but for sharing the journey of it.
John, thank you so much and yes, it’s such a leap psychologically to stand on your own and say ‘this is what I have’ to the world, it’s just not how we are conditioned and it feels very very scary. Paradoxically though once you make your declaration, it’s so heartening to experience all the support that comes your way. And i know in your case you have many many fans and supporters. xx
This is a great post. So honest and I appreciate the question about worth. It really comes down to self worth and feeling confident as yourself and what you have to say. I used to think that self publishing was less than but no more. The playing field has changed and the author has more choices than ever in how to present work to the world. I applaud your choice. You have approached the whole process with an open and creative spirit. Your book is being born Out Loud, as is should be. Rona, you inspire me to be Outloud in my life and in my writing. Thank you. X
Thank you so much Beverly – I’m so glad you are feeling Out Loud because I know how talented you are, what an amazing storyteller and poet!! xx