Bonnie Sparks Writes

…fiction and discusses editing, writing, mental illness, chronic conditions, bunnies, food, fitness, and geeky topics.

Publishing: Self vs Commercial Part I

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I’ve been reading up on methods of publishing and what goes into both to the point where I feel like my head is going to explode whilst it does a slow turn, Exorcist style, spewing my brains in an arc over my walls. Fortunately I don’t think there will be any pea soup projectile vomiting. That would be overkill.

Yes, I’m feeling quite visually imaginative today.

My point is I feel that, even though I’m still working on my novel and don’t see the end very clearly yet, I should research as much about the whole publishing business as possible. It’s not only knowing what is in front of me, but it’s also being able to make an informed choice about the direction I want to go and what suits me. Whilst reading about it I’ve come across a lot of interesting opinions, downright ignorant opinions, and unfortunate stigmas and stereotypes.

Right now, while I’m still writing and learning, publishing is something I’m questioning a lot and from that questioning comes extensive thought and consideration. Instead of this being one long post, which it would be, I’m going to break it down into more than one post highlighting stigmas, stereotypes, and whatever else I feel I need to verbally spew forth during my contemplation of the process and industry. Until I hopefully arrive at some sort of decision. I hope. It’s a little murky right now.

What’s With The Stigma?

I’m one of those people, and I feel of a very small minority, who had no idea about the stigma that came along with self-published (Indie) authors before I started using the internet on a daily basis. I wasn’t completely naive, I was aware there were Indie authors, but I didn’t question their talent or their professionalism. I didn’t even question the why when it comes to being self published instead of commercial publishing. I always saw it as just a writer who got their book out there and that has never been an issue for me to even think about. I honestly don’t care and the following is, I think, where the stigma issues arise from.

Through my internet wanderings of opinions on different forms of publishing, opinions being something of which I feel is just as important to look into as researching methods, I have come across several reasons for attitudes towards self-publishing and I think perhaps a lot of these are born from ignorance and/or decisions come to by some who read what others say instead of being completely informed about it.

It seems to be automatic thinking of certain points (ones I don’t agree with at all) and one of them is;

  • Indie authors are unprofessional and rude.

Not long ago a blogger reviewed a book by request for an Indie author. The author didn’t take the criticism in the review very well and went off her nut. This was something that came to be well known and shared a great deal around the internet. I didn’t comment myself, but I read a lot of comments people left. Some from authors, both Indie and commercial, but a lot from readers who decided they were going to avoid Indie authors after that. It made me very sad to read those.

As a reviewer myself, I’ve interacted with a lot of different authors over the last year, and I can say from personal experience that however they are published has nothing to do with that person’s attitude. I think people put authors on a pedestal and forget they’re just people and that people can react in all sorts of different ways. I won’t get into the details, but I’ve had unfavourable interactions with two authors who were a little too rude (downright rude) and for those people who think that it’s just Indie authors who are unprofessional I can tell you now that it can also be well established commercially published authors.

Why? Because they’re people and people react. Not all writers react in an unprofessional and sometimes scary manner, but there are people out there who can’t handle the criticism. And I’m not having a go at those people, pouring so much of your time and energy into something that you end up being emotionally invested in only to have someone rip it to bits can be really hard to take, but the majority of the time authors have learnt to keep those reactions to themselves or use this criticism as something they can learn from.

In my opinion, reactions have nothing to do with how someone was published. It all depends on the person. So when I come across comments from people saying that they don’t want to read Indie authors because of unprofessionalism, especially when this is arrived at without first hand experience, I’m actually quite sad and disheartened by it. I think of those writers out there who went a different way instead of what is expected and now a certain number of people won’t be able to experience their work because of stigma.


Author: Bonnie

Between a blogging addiction, hosting reading challenges, reviewing, writing novels, and overcoming a neuro-immune disease, Bonnie attempts to do as many awesome things as she can and has a good dose of daily bunny cuddles. She resides in Western Sydney with her rabbit, Winston.

One thought on “Publishing: Self vs Commercial Part I

  1. Pingback: Publishing: Self Vs Commercial Part II « Bonnie Sparks

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