I’m a self-published writer and I’m not afraid to admit it!
It’s true, that many people still associate it with poor quality. Many don’t even know it exists. I often tell my friends and they can’t fathom that a publisher isn’t involved. However, self-publishing is a viable process these days.
If done properly
The biggest issue is this: How do you know which books have been taken seriously and which ones haven’t?
How do you know if a book has been edited?
How do you know if it’s been formatted properly?
You don’t, and that’s the problem.
The Future Of Self-Publishing
Who knows what the future holds. I, however, believe self-publishing will grow. But it does have to evolve if it’s to last the test of time. In it’s current state there will always be doubters.
We need to change the perception of the process, and in my opinion it needs a seal of approval.
Let’s face it, a publisher plays a very simple role (at least in the eye of the reader). It shows the world that the book has been read by several people, been edited a great deal, and put through a thorough process.
Those going down the self-publishing route don’t have this.
Evolving The Perception
My debut novel is due out on January 2013. As such, I’ve contacted many reviewers and websites. I need to get word out, and the only way to achieve this is by contacting people.
What I’ve found is many are cautious about self-published books. Many reviewers don’t accept them, and even if they do, they often require professional editing. Why do they stipulate this? Because they’ve burned in the past!
You can’t blame people for being cautious toward self-publishing. They’ve no doubt taken a chance on dozens of books only to find error after error after error. It wouldn’t take me long to turn my back on such a process.
Self-Publishing has a bad perception and we all need to help it evolve.
The Famous Seal
What self-publishing needs is a seal of approval. A simple badge of honour that ‘tells’ the reader: Hey, I’ve been taken through a very thorough process.
This is all it needs. People turn to books for good stories. They don’t require it to be written by a literary genius, but they do expect it to be of a good standard. We expect that from anything we buy.
This is what a seal of approval could offer:
- It reassures the reader and reviewer
- It increases the quality of self-published books
- It It adds a barrier against JUST anyone publishing a book
- It adds a legitimate standard for people to stride for
- It helps teach the writer to become someone better
You don’t need to make such a process mandatory, but if a writer wants to be taken seriously, they will go down this route regardless.
The Movement Is Beginning
Services like this already exist, but there isn’t one that stands out from the rest. I personally like Grub Street, but it’s still in its infancy. Us writers are currently in a catch-22 scenario.
It’s another cost ($15-75) without any definite value. Grub Street could become the seal of approval self-publishing needs, but then again, it might not. It’s a risk, and it’s one that most writers won’t take…yet.
There are also associations which are beginning to tackle such issues. The Independent Authors Association (headed by Orna Ross) is a great example. However, the same issue persists.
Will this association be aroundin 5 years, or will it be another process that takes money from the already poor writer?
In my humble opinion, self-publishing is desperate for a standardised seal of approval. Until we get it, there will always be those that doubt its legitimacy. Who will take it by the horns and create a standard for EVERYONE to aim for?
What It Would Include
What would such a process include? This is up for debate, and I hope you’ll add your own thoughts in the comments below. But here are some of my own ideas. It needs:
- An independent Reviewer
- An affordable, but not cheap price (too cheap and it devalues the service)
- Standardised across countries and languages
- To be simple, easy to follow, and available to everyone
- To look beyond the writing (instead at the book overall)
- To be regulated (people will take advantage)
These are just a few thoughts. What do you think?
What else does this standardised process need?
Will services like Grub Street shine, or will someone else take the lead?
Turndog Millionaire – @turndog_million