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Self-Published Books Are Real Books Too

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If you don’t follow the amazing Linda G. Hill, check out this post about a Facebook discussion she was privy to. I was going to comment, but I ended up writing a rant of my own. Some people in person have expressed similar opinions that trash self-publishing as prone to errors. It’s not really fair to self-published authors. Below is the comment I wanted to add (but ended up getting away from me).

I can’t think of any work I’ve read that didn’t have some typo, error, or mistake. Writers juggle hundreds of thousands of words (that’s including the ones that make it and the ones written down and then deleted). One, two, or even ten mistakes out of thousands of opportunities isn’t a good reason to trash a book. This happens no matter how the book gets published, because the writing process is different from the publishing process.

Even the quality of self-published books gets a bad rap. Other publishers used to publish crap all the time. For example, meet Tanaka Tom, the Six-Gun Samurai from Georgia. Here is its Goodreads review. I’ve read some of it, and suffice it to say I didn’t like it. Despite my personal tastes, there are some people who actually like the story. Different people have different tastes in entertainment, and books are no exception.

For people who are skeptical of self-published books, remember that there are thousands of new writers putting stuff out there. This volume of work means that even companies which sell these books cannot always read a reader’s mind. It takes readers to actually find and recommend good writers and books to others. If one typo is enough to make you put down a book, that’s fine. Just please do not assume that everyone else has the same attitude towards good books.

Self-published books are just as good as their traditionally published counterparts. If anything, they highlight the difficulty in writers putting together a story good enough for many different people to enjoy. I’ve been told that on average, a self-published book will sell 10 copies. Beat that average, and you’re a success. Unfortunately, 10 books means a writer gets paid a pittance for many hours of labor. In traditional publishing the sales are higher, but that’s only because writers need it to earn back their advance. Thus, writing only gets done because writers love telling stories.

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