I just reposted an article by author Liz Long called Why I Am Mad About Self-Publishing Stigma. I recommend reading it.
I was going to just add my own thoughts, but they got too big and meandered in a different direction than I originally intended, so I decided to put them in a second post instead.
In particular, I want to address one paragraph in her article:
If you’re indie, you know the looks. The ones where people get super excited to hear you’re a writer, then when they ask who published you, and you say, “I’m self-published”, you get “the look.” You know the one. “Oh,” they say, their shoulders deflating with disappointment. “I thought you were like, famous or something.”
I’m starting to think that there might be something else behind that look. In any creative endeavor there are those who attracted to the idea of being an “artist” and there are those who do the work of making art. I’ve seen it in musicians, photographers, filmmakers, and in writers. Mostly in writers.
When I talk about my work I get the “Oh, I want to write, but…” line a lot. There are always excuses.
“I have to work full time.” Yeah, so do I.
“I can’t afford a decent computer.” I’m writing this on one that a friend threw away. Trust me, it’s easy to find something that will handle text, even if it won’t do anything else.
“I can’t afford the programs.” Open Office is free. So is Calibre. So is Paint.net.
The big one, though, is “You can’t get published unless you know someone.”
I’ve written before about the Myth Of The Golden Ticket. It’s the dream that one day a publisher will reach down from Literary Nirvana and touch you with a magic wand. Then there’s fame and fortune and spending a few hours a week doing the fun part of writing.
The Myth Of The Golden Ticket is a great tool for daydreaming about “being a writer” while avoiding the hard work of actually writing.
Self-publishers, just by existing, shoot that myth in the face with a large caliber handgun loaded with hollow points.
As Liz Long said, I get excited looks when I say I’ve written and published four novels. “Oh, boy,” I can see them thinking, “here’s someone who got a Golden Ticket! Maybe he can get me one!”
Then I drop the ugly truth–all I can offer is blood, sweat, toil, and tears. You want to write? This is what you do: Write a book. Publish it. Do it again.
That means you have to write when you get home from your day job and are tired. That means that you write when you want to go out and play. That means you write a whole book, from beginning to end, and not just the fun parts. That means that you work on it even when you hate it.
You treat it like a job. A full-time difficult job that you may or may not ever get paid for.
And then you do it again.