Self-Publishing vs. Indie Publishing vs. The Big Five

My last article, "The Case Against Celebrity Authors" was a hot-button issue. There were abundance of pragmatic responses, all of them very good, which have persuaded me to write this article.

One gentleman challenged my perspective by bringing up the suggestion of self-publishing. While self-publishing is certainly a good idea and the author will have a tangible book, self-publishing is not always the greatest route to go. Cue the response, "What about E.L. James?"

E.L. James is a Cinderella story. James networked, knew the right people and must have had a hell of a PR team to help her find her way into fame. Now I suppose if an author worked hard enough, they could certainly come into the same fame as Ms. James, it's not impossible. There is, however, the very real problem of distribution and paying out of pocket; the other flip of the coin is because the book is bound and sold at a handful of bookstores, fate could step in and persuade an editor and/or publisher to purchase it and shop hypothetical author for a book deal. It certainly could happen, this is not impossible, but it's very rare.

In regards to independent publishers, there is a greater chance of success. Indie publishers like Dzanc Books, Curbside Splendor, Milkweed Editions and Elephant Rock are just a few of the new wave of publishers on the horizon. These publishers understand that they must make money to be in business (natch) but they are not helpless to their desire for wealth as the Big Five are. These publishers, while small, have great PR teams, take on original books and have larger distribution than if an author were simply to self-publish.

Now, for the Big Five. Dear readers, please don't think I'm a naive idealist, I am a realist. I get that these Big Five must make money, we all must make money, this is why they take on those celebrity authors like the Kardashians and Lauren Conrad. I was by no means attempting to be pretentious yesterday and/or naive when I wrote that article, and perhaps I should have amplified my point (but then again, I would have never gotten as many responses). What I was merely trying to convey yesterday was that, the Big Five show a lack of integrity that their previous forefathers would shudder upon. This is my opinion.

That being said, I must address the myth that all writers and, ahem, "literati" are pretentious. While there are the standard few, there are pretentious grapes in every bushel. There are pretentious fire chiefs, pretentious bank tellers, pretentious restauranteurs... pretentious people are unavoidable, but I am lucky enough that all of the writers I know and am introducing you to on this blog are very decent, sensitive people just trying to be known.

I hope this response to yesterday's column provided some help for other writers out there.

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