Friday, February 24, 2012

Don't Drink the Kool-Aid

Dear Self-Published Authors,

Leave. Me. Alone.

Yes, I'm glad you are deliriously happy with your choice to self-publish. Yes, I realize that you are overjoyed to finally be a) a "published" author, b) monetizing your backlist, or c) finding larger success than you had come to expect in your experiences with traditional publishers. That's awesome and I'm seriously happy for you.

Now shut up.

DO NOT tell me I have made a mistake by working with a publisher who has helped me immensely in ways you never bother to ask about. DO NOT tell me I would have been more successful if I had self-published from the get go because you don't know jack shit about my career (newsflash: your way wasn't an option in 2008) or what guided me to write the books I wrote. And please, for the love of FREE CHOICE, do NOT tell me that I "need" to get on the self-publishing bandwagon and I'm an "idiot" if I don't.

THERE IS NO ONE TRUE PATH. Yes, self-publishing is going to be great for some people. And I really am genuinely happy if it's good for you, but you don't have the right to tell me that is the right career path for me. At least ASK me what I'm planning before you start shoving your career choices down my throat. (You might be surprised to find out that I'm considering a foray into your waters in my own good time, but I'm not going to tell you that if you're busy trying to sell me on The Way.)

And when my friend gets ONE rejection on a story, don't immediately react with "Self-publish it!" when you don't know ANY of the details of her situation, have never read the book, and have only gotten on the self-publishing bandwagon yourself a month ago.

Something strange happens when your first book is uploaded to Amazon. The part of your brain that reminds you that people are allowed to make their own freaking choices is swallowed up by the Self-Publishing Missionary - intent on bringing the One True Way of Publishing to the masses. Please, stop drinking the kool-aid and maybe that part will grow back. If we suddenly can't have a single conversation that doesn't turn into you touting self-publishing as the new promised land, I'm going to stop wanting to talk to you really fast.

Self-publishing does seem like a great opportunity. It's the Self-Publishing Missionaries who make me want to never do it. I respond badly to cults, used-car salesmen and door-to-door preachers. Please leave me alone.


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