Is Self-Publishing Worth It?

Self-publishing intrigues me.  As someone who has had their nose pressed up against the publishing industry since there early twenties, the idea that I could just put something out there without asking any editor or publishing house for permission is a very tantalizing prospect.  One thing that you can attribute to the Internet is that it has nocked down any barrier between the people who want to read content and the people who want to make content.

There have been many times where I have thought, “Screw rejection letters.  I’m just going to publish my own book.”

Back in the early 00’s the self-publishing industry – also known as print on demand – was still in its infancy.  You could do it, but it was kind of career suicide.  Espeically if you were like me and haven’t been published through “traditional” means before.  So I did what I was supposed to do and sent out short stories to publishers even as websites and blogs cut the guts out of print media.

(Oh and as an aside, I don’t hold to the standard wisdom that the print is dead.  People still like books as physical objects.  They’ve been around for thousands of years, one decade isn’t going to make them extinct. They may one day go away but not in the fabled “soon” that a lot of tech journalists would lead you to believe.)

And because there were less print markets, there were less slots for stories, and I got rejected more.  Does this mean that my stuff doesn’t still need work? Oh god no.  But the playing field is being stacked against me and after writing so much, it would be nice to see someone say, “You are good enough.”

That leads me to why I haven’t pulled the trigger on self-publishing my fiction.  I still feel like I need the approval, or at the least the help and guidance of a publisher.  Sure I could self-publish on Amazon and have my stuff given most of the same chances as a lot of the other things on Amazon, but I would still be alone in figuring all that stuff out and advertising the thing.

I might not ever self-publish a novel but as the technology gets cooler and cooler and the stigma of self-publishing goes away, I might throw out some short stories out into the world and see what they are worth.  I’m not going to get rich off them, but I might get what I would from some random short story publisher.

If nothing else, it might be a interesting story to tell on here.  Stay tuned.

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