May
21

Self-Publishing vs Stubbornness

Stubbornness vs Sour Grapes

If I had to describe myself in one word, "patient" would not be on the short-list of choices. But "stubborn" would, or maybe I'd use "determined" to give it a positive spin... either way, I think my ability to persevere, and be in it for the long-haul where my goals are concerned, counts for something. 

That being said, I also like to think of myself as being open-minded and objective.  Which leaves me somewhat torn between my original, very specific goal of being traditionally published vs allowing myself to consider self-publishing in an honest and informed way.

Aesop's Fox and the Grapes fableGrowing up I had a book of Aesop's fables. The one entry that always stuck with me over the years was "The Fox and The Grapes," and when someone complains about something they're obviously jealous about, I refer to that type of thinking as "sour grapes."

My original goal in writing this book was to get published. Not to get rich. Not to get famous. To get published. I don't know why that was the goal that emerged but when I boil it all down, that seems to be what's behind the "drive". And to date, my vision of what that meant has specifically included a traditional publishing house. Having that external validation (from a professional in the literary field), confirming that what I'd slaved over for years was actually worthy, was a key component of that goal. As was the idea of going into a brick and mortar bookstore and seeing my book for sale on a shelf.

I assumed that the only people who would choose self-publishing really had no actual "choice" in the matter at all. But the more I interact with other authors, both online and in person, and the more I learn about what influenced their various paths to self-publishing, the more it gives me pause and nags at me to reconsider.

I realized that it was rather hypocritical of me to automatically assume that all self-published authors were producing inferior content. I'd long ago abandoned cable TV, opting instead to get my video content through Netflix and YouTube. And was there ever a better analogy for small press publishing and self-publishing? Can't interest the big networks in your documentary on obscure cheese-making techniques? Netflix is more open to niche content. Or, just post it to YouTube yourself, maintain direct control over your content, and reap all the benefits of any clicks that come in. 

The main thing that is driving me to continue sending my manuscript to agents is a fear of that "sour grapes" mentality. I'm well and truly down the path of aiming for New York... it's like I'm afraid that if I were to change my mind now, my decision to do so might somehow have been tainted by my lack of getting accepted to date. That means that the "pro's" of self-publishing have to severely outweigh the traditional publishing argument before I'll trust that I've made the decision for the right reasons and not out of bitterness, or lack of willingness to persevere. 

I also really don't like giving up on a dream. I suppose that the "external validation" piece could just as easily come from achieving a certain number of downloads... but that doesn't quite feel the same if I'm being honest. And self-publishing would mean that bookstores wouldn't stock my title on their shelves. While self-published authors can still offer paper copies of their books, they're printed "on-demand" only and sold on-line.  

Is there crap content out there because of self-publishing? There sure is, but I've read some utter crap that was traditionally published too. Is there self-published content out there that would be worthy of a New York publishing house? In fact, there is, as I'm learning. More and more authors who were traditionally published in the past are opting to now self-publish instead. That tells me something that I need to think long and hard about...

I guess I have to figure out for myself whether my original aspirations are important to cling to, or whether I should revise my goals to match the reality (good and bad) of the publishing industry today. I'll be exploring the specific pro's and con's of the different publishing options in an upcoming post... this week's musings have already gone on long enough at this point.

Patience is not a virtue I possess in spades. So I'm warring between desperately wanting to have my book see the light of day, and digging in for the long-haul that traditional publishing will dictate. I just need to be objective in making that call. Self-publishing might still be considered the "easy way out" by many, but that doesn't necessarily disqualify it from being the right path to take.  

I'm still undecided. 

Patience is Active Waiting

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two Responses to "Self-Publishing vs Stubbornness"

  1. Eric Thomson
    Eric Thomson on 21-05-’16 21:16

    Come to the Dark Side™. We actually sell books

  2. A. Lee Ripley
    A. Lee Ripley on 23-05-’16 08:53

    The little “TM” was a good touch. ;)

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