Hanging the Hat of Your Self Esteem on the Fact of Dead Tree Publication

Written By: Bill Quick - Sep• 28•11

Unringing The Bell | madgeniusclub

At cons, I still run into authors who look down on self-published authors. I still run into authors who parrot the line about how much the publisher is investing in them: when it is patently obvious they’re lost in mid-list hell; I still run into authors who say “if you want to make a living at this, you have to publish with the big six.”

I had the dubious privilege of hearing a mid-press published author telling a self-published author whom I happen to know makes more in a month on one book than the mid-press published author has made for any two or three of his books that “most of what’s self published is crap and no one would buy it. The future is finding a publisher and convincing them to accept you. In two years, all this e-book stuff will be gone.”

Ity seems hard to believe that in this day and age you can still find writers – yes, even SF authors – who think this way. I suspect it has a lot to do with how much, over the years, they have invested of their own self-esteem in the fact that they have managed to get published by a major dead tree house. When that was the only gate, negotiating it was a significant accomplishment. But why pin so much on that one marker? Well, writers labor in solitude, and always worry, deep in the back of their minds, that they are frauds writing crap, and any day now, somebody is going to expose them. Anything that serves to soothe that existential fear is welcomed, and all published writers, I’d bet, have felt at least a whiff of that thought.

On the other hand, the amount of balls it takes to think you can successfully plant the same fields already plowed by Shakespeare, Milton, and King is sort of amazing, isn’t it? But that’s not really self-esteem. It’s just insane bravado. And we know it.

The gate has been torn down, though. Anybody who doesn’t understand that and start trying to adjust is going to be trampled to death in the stampede over the rubble.

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