1 comment September 7th, 2011
I think we see convincingly now that self-publishing has lost the automatic “vanity publishing” stigma. That is not to say that many self-published books do not still suffer from the penny ante, amateur-hour mentality of some self-publishers who do not yet understand that just because do-it-yourself editing, design, and production may be possible does not mean that it is always the preferable.
Too many do-it-yourselfers give short shrift to the idea that editing, design, and production require a certain amount of gathered knowledge—either through formal education or seat-of-the-pants learning on a need-to-know basis—and skills that have been worked at and developed. I suspect this is simply a natural outcome of the notion that the most important thing is to rein in costs by performing those tasks for oneself. And this also ignores the notion that when one chooses to self-publish, one chooses to go into business as a publisher, further requiring the self-publisher to properly invest real money in his or her own business to pay for making a book readers will buy.
One thing that struck me earlier today when I read a discussion online was that, despite my initial positing that self-publishing no longer equates to vanity publishing, there are still some people interested in perpetuating the idea that self-publishing is not “real” publishing. Of course, that is the position of publishing companies in the traditional mold. So they must be credited with a vested interest.
Myself, I have a vested interest in self-publishing continuing to flourish. As a book designer and page compositor, I find working for self-publishers very attractive. For one thing, the streamlined manner in which a self-publisher works—for instance, as a book designer, I talk only to my client-author on any issue that arises during the course of a project—is eminently easier to deal with. This makes for a more efficient process; that, in turn, tends to make for a more profitable job that results in a better book.