You take the high road…


Reading Mike Duran’s blog this morning, I had to admire the story of one writer’s perseverance. HERE I mean I’m a fan of happy endings. A three-book deal is a fine thing indeed.

It’s just that I couldn’t help but wonder if I didn’t detect a whiff of condescension. Already tarred as inferior product, (which isn’t accurate or restricted to just self-pubbed fiction, BTW) the implicit logic there is that self-publishing is an “easy out” for the impatient and impetuous. It’s “better” somehow to go the traditional agent/big publishing house route.

There are plenty of examples of successful self-published writers (Here’s one list) and there are plenty of other reasons a writer might choose to go the “low” road with their work. Personally, I needed closure so I could move on to my next project.

Tough decision, but I kicked RUNNING BLACK out of the house, wished it luck and told it to write if it found work. Do I need to improve as a writer? Sure. Is it the best sci-fi ever? No. But I polished it up as best I could at that stage of my writing experience and started another story. Being self-employed all these years, perhaps that thought doesn’t bother me like it might others. Live and learn is the name of the game.

As I finish “Shift Tense” I’m compiling a list of agents/houses to query. For sure. But I’m also prepared to buy another ISBN and go that route. I don’t think that makes my work sub-par or me rash and “unsuccessful.”

8 Comments on “You take the high road…

  1. I go back and forth on whether or not to self-publish; I have enough anxiety about my stuff being read that sometimes I figure self-publishing might be a way to go.

    I’m pretty sure, though, that most writers harbour this inner hierarchy of arrogance about the publishing business. I know Mike has said outright that he doesn’t think you can call yourself a writer unless you’ve published a book through a traditional publisher. I went 10 rounds with him on that–even though I HAVE published two books through a traditional publisher. (That’s the other unwritten rule. Since they were work-for-hire books included in a giftset they don’t count as “real” books. The rules get more and more convoluted as you go.)

    Self-publishing is seen as the “I give up” route. I used to see it that way. Now I see it more and more as a way for me to get some stories out of my system quickly while I tweak others for submission to publishers.

    Of course, the fact that many Dickens’ works were essentially self-published–first in his own magazines as serials and then by a press he owned, doesn’t cross a lot of minds.

    I personally could do without all of this passive-aggressive competition in the writing world. One person lighting a candle doesn’t rob the rest of the world of light.

    • “One person lighting a candle doesn’t rob the rest of the world of light.”

      amen to that.

      I’m aware of the stigma, but this is the first smack of arrogance I’ve caught out of Mike. Then again, I’m paying less and less attention to his blog (and a number of others) lately.

      • I’m down to reading like four blogs three times a week. It gets me in too much dudgeon and my creative energies trickle away in tired arguments otherwise.

        Now I have all this extra time to worry about how much gack I’m churning into the world of fiction.

  2. In light of your comments K, I couldn’t help but notice the questions Mike didn’t answer in our exchange. Ah well.

  3. Oh, for heaven’s sake. I just lost my comment. To make it short–I didn’t want to downplay the success and perseverance of the author Mike was writing about. But to each his–that’s my egalitarian reply. Self-publishing has been a valid option for 300 years (or more).

  4. You are absolutely right. I don’t want to detract from that accomplishment. She stuck to it and I genuinely hope she does well.

  5. Pingback: Ready, Aim, Publish! (or, How I Stumbled Into the Civil War Between Traditional and Self-Publishing)

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