Dear Fellow Writers,
Just a quick little message for you all.
STOP BEING SO FREAKING JUDGMENTAL.
I wasn’t even going to write this or was planning on it, BUT there was the dismaying thread, which is how I’ve been referring to this on my Twitter. It’s on AbsoluteWrite, the writing forum I hang out on.
It’s entitled Beta Readers or Professional Editor? Prepared to be aggravated and entertained. You see, the innocent poster simply asked whether he should have beta readers or a professional editor look at his work first. Which one should he go with?
Clearly, the answer is beta readers. They’re cheaper 🙂
Then someone chimed in with “why do you even need a beta reader? And why would you hire a professional editor at all?!!!”
(Because some of us like to have new eyes on our work before we send it out to the world, in whatever form sending it out into the world is for us)
The poster came back, said thank you, and replied that he wanted to know which ones he should go with because he wants to self-publish.
In which case, have both betas and a professional editor look at it is the correct answer.
And then, of course, it became a thread of self pubbing. vs. traditional publishing.
Now, this isn’t a topic I’ve blogged about–the differences between self publishing and traditional publishing because….well, I’m not up to that stage yet. I think self-publishing is exciting, I think it’ll continue to grow, and I think it’s awesome for those who are up for the challenge of writing, pubbing, formatting, editing, marketing and keeping track of their own numbers. Trad pub is often slow and a lot of it is out of an author’s hands, after all. So like an indie band, indie authors are doing it their way.
I’m not, as yet, one of those people. I studied the traditional model of publishing in graduate school and my dream was to always have a hard copy of my novel sitting on the shelf in Barnes And Noble near Jane Austen’s books. (Holla, alphabetical order!) So whenever the heck I finish this dang book, I will be sweating out queries, researching agents, and praying that I get published that a-way. But that’s me. And having interned in publishing houses and for a literary agent, I know how I need my book to read when it goes out. I also know the percentages of how many manuscripts get rejected. It’s daunting.
(Hell, at one of my internships, I had to fact-check a book that was indie published and it was godawful.)
But then, so is the prospect of figuring out how to self-publish and market a book that won’t get the exposure that a traditionally published book may get, depending. Whatever you invest in your book–and please, please, God, get your self-published novel looked at by an editor–don’t let the self pub stigma hit you in the face–well…you may never make that investment back.
Writing ain’t easy and neither is publishing or any other kind of art and business mix. So, you know, respect, props, whatever.
Or as we used to say at Emerson College:
“Don’t be a pretentious douche.”
And really, Emersonians know about pretentious douches.
(Or as Krystal calls me, Sunflower Michelle)