Why Self-Publishing Works the Same as Everything Else

Self-publishing is not a magic trick that will make you a million dollars. I wish it was, but it's not.

I read an article from the Guardian this evening about the benefits of self-publishing via e-books and it got me thinking I should do a blog post about it. I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about the whole self-publishing route that so many authors have been pursuing lately. Despite a whole slew of success stories from the e-book world, literary jerk-offs still snub their noses at anyone who decides to go solo and put their work out on their own. These clowns say that if everyone can put out a book then the book market is going to be flooded with crap and somehow ruin everything that is great about reading. To this, I call “shenanigans!”

Think about it like this: when you buy a $10.00 pair of shoes from Payless you are doing so with the expectation that those shoes are not going to last you all that long. That’s why they’re cheap, right? But let’s say you go to Nordstrom and buy a $100.00 pair of shoes that crumple like tissue paper the first time you wear them. I guarantee you are going to be wicked ticked off because you expected them to last. You paid for them to last.

The book market is guided by the same sort of principle. When people buy a book they are doing so with the hope that the book will meet their expectations of what a book should be. If a book only costs a buck and it’s a decent enough read then they will be more inclined to buy another book like it, possibly even by the same author. However, if the book is trash then they will be less inclined to buy one like it again and thus the author will be less inclined to write one like it again, unless he or she is someone who enjoys failing. You keep this going for a while and you start to see who is doing well–the writers who are still selling books–and who is not–the writers who are going back to their day jobs. The great writers will rise to the top with or without a publishing house as long as they’re willing to work to get there.

So yeah, that’s what I think about that whole deal. But what do you think about it? I’m eager to know, especially if you disagree.

[image sourced here]