Today I think I will climb up on a powder keg instead of my usual Monday soapbox. Just for fun, I think I will light the fuse as well. I’m about to seriously piss some of you off. But I’m about to make some of you smile as well. I would like to discuss a VERY hot topic in the publishing world right now, one that has writers in two decidedly different camps. But I’m not talking to you as a writer today. I’m talking to you as a reader. First and foremost, all writers are readers, so I am as entitled to my opinion as the next. Please wait until you’ve heard me out before gathering the pitchforks and torches.
Most of you probably realize already that I’m going to talk about self-publishing. Now put down that club, I’m not done yet! We live in a world now, where all you have to do is type something up, and you can publish it on a variety of venues such as Amazon yourself. The question that was posed to me was this Does that make you an author? As a READER, I will say no. It doesn’t. With the invention of the e-reader came the freedom for me to download these stories in the blink of an eye, and I will say that I have purchased enough self-pubbed works to have a definite opinion. As a reader, I like my books to be well-told and well-edited. I like to be entertained by someone with the talent to tell me a story. I’m not finding that here people!
EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT! C. W. LaSart Just Said Self-Pubbing Is SHIT! Now hold on a minute, I haven’t gone there, yet. The majority of what I am encountering in the self-pubbed market is in fact shit. No character development, little plot, NO STORY, and the editing of a 5-year old. Some of it is just plain illiterate. Notice I didn’t say ALL. There are a few self-pubbed authors who have a story to tell, and also enough pride in their work to pay to have it professionally edited by someone other than that friend who always did pretty good in English when they went to school together. These are few and far between. I have read a couple of self-pubbed books I liked, a couple that were good, but none that were great. I’m sure there’s some great ones out there, but sadly I will never read them because the abundance of shit has soured me towards spending my money on self-pub. Those of you doing it with talent and pride should be the ones most pissed about the trend. They are giving you a bad name. And making it harder to sell your work.
For those of you who just decided you needed to be an author, and put out whatever you wanted without so much as spell check, you have a lot of nerve. Not only do you put it out there, but you expect me to PAY to read it! That’s like me saying I know how scissors work, why don’t you PAY me to give you a hair cut even though I’m not a hairdresser. So sure, I’ll buy your book, but I get to give you a makeover after. Fair is Fair. And that’s what you want, right? For it to be fair? It’s just not fair that you don’t have a traditional publishing contract. It’s just too hard. You’ll just skip those steps. Please tell me it’s not because you think you don’t need an editor. Everyone needs an editor. EVERYONE!
I tell my kids every day that they are special to me. Then, in the next breath, I tell them that if they want to be special to the world, they have to DO something special. None of us are special by the grace of our births. I don’t care what your Momma tells you, Pumpkin. Just wanting something is not enough. I would love to be able to sing, but just because I whip out a microphone and wail into it, then ask you to pay to hear it, does not make me a musician. I’m just a freak wailing in a microphone. Decades of “participation ribbons” have led to a country where too many think they have a right to be whatever they want to be, without working to achieve it. Winning is nothing anymore. God forbid someone who is truly good at something, someone who has struggled to hone their sport or craft, feel special. That would hurt the self-esteem of those who didn’t succeed.
I guess what I’m saying is, if you want to self-pub, make sure that what you are writing is good (Don’t ask your Momma-she will lie to save your little feelings) and for God’s sake, hire an editor. Really ask yourself if you have talent? Do you actually have a story to tell? If you do, and it’s not just a case of you wanting to be an author, rather than being one in your heart and soul, then good luck to you. If you are just one of these schmucks who are flooding the market with sub-standard shit, well have I got something for you! I can carve a roast and I’m pretty decent at stitching socks. I guess that makes me a surgeon-come see me if that appendix acts up!