At this point some people might be thinking: hey, aren't you a zinester? Where do you get off talking smack about self-publishing when you do it yourself? Different formats mean different "marketing strategies" (shudder again), dudes. See also: self-published comics, non-fiction books with a narrow focus, etc. No problem with self-publishing those types of things. Yet, when it comes to self-published fiction, especially genre fiction, in my opinion the results are far more likely than not to be akin to Night Travels of the Elven Vampire.
|A self-published classic.|
But... but... what about Mark Twain?! You mean, the failed self-publishing efforts of Mark Twain? Besides, that was a different era, when self-publishing (or any publishing, or even the purchase of books themselves) was extremely inaccessible. It's still my contention that self-publishing fiction in the modern era, especially self-publishing speculative fiction in the modern era, as someone who is pretty much an unknown, is a sucker's game. Amanda Hocking is the exception that proves the rule, and even she is going the traditional publishing route now. Which she presumably wouldn't be, if self-publishing didn't have some serious problems.
Basically, I think self-publishing has far more drawbacks than advantages and is almost always a bad idea for new fiction writers! I am, however, willing to try even dumb things at least once.
So, here's the deal: I have a short story that was previously published (back in 2005... ancient history!) in a tiny Pittsburgh SF print anthology. As it's been "vetted," it probably isn't total crap so I feel okay with it being out there on the Internets. I'm going to put it up on Kindle for 99 centibones, see how it flies, and then and only then may I revise my opinion of self-publishing from "total waste of time" to "well, it bought me this sandwich, I guess it's not all that bad." If you want to buy it, that would be awesome! If you don't want to, or are so offended by my thoughts on self-publishing that you wouldn't even if you wanted to, then that's cool too. It will be available as soon as I figure out how to put one's writing up on Kindle, which means anywhere from one day from now to several months from now. It appears that I'll make around thirty cents per download, so that means that only ten of you need to download it to buy me a sandwich, around twenty if you want to buy me a really awesome sandwich. And I'll of course be documenting the process of Kindleizing my work and the outcome of the experiment on this blog. Stay tuned!