POV: The Attitudes in Publishing

POV posts are editorial pieces by authors and/or editors about a variety of subjects. They do not necessarily reflect the attitude of Pandahead Publishing.

Brett Brooks is the author of Harmonia, Child of Shadows, Edible Complex, and the upcoming Red is the Darkest Color. 

At this point in history there are two avenues for novelists: traditional publishing and self-publishing. Both have their strengths, and both have their weaknesses. If you want to have the most professional looking product, with top-notch publicity, and a driven editor who will push you to your limit, then you go traditional publishing. If you want complete creative control and a sense of self-accomplishment, then perhaps self-publishing is the route for you. Oh, and you’ll likely make a lot more money from the traditional route, as well.

In the years that I’ve been writing, I’ve had material published both traditionally, and, more recently, self-published. Though I have a great deal of respect for authors who choose to use either avenue to get their work out there. No matter which way you go, it isn’t easy.

But none of this is new or interesting. You’ll find that same information on a dozen sites, and that’s without trying. I want to talk about something else regarding the two approaches: the sycophants.

In the past two years, since I’ve started self-publishing, I’ve met a lot of people on both sides of the fence. The vast majority of them are respectful, polite, and just flat out great folks. It’s a small community, even with the boom in self-publishing, to be putting yourself out there with your work, and almost everyone knows that and appreciates what you do.

Almost.

There are those people who look across the hall at the other side, and do so with their nose decidedly in the air. I’ve heard horror stories of traditionally published authors being harassed by self-publishers because they are “sell outs” or that they are too afraid to embrace the future. Which, of course, is hogwash. While I personally have chosen to self-publish all of my recent work, I have no illusions that traditional publishing is the more recognized and financially profitable option.

On the other hand, I have personally experienced traditionally published authors who have treated me with disdain because I have chosen to self-publish. Some of them–a small number, certainly–still have the attitude that self-publishing is the same as the old vanity press. That we are just trying to see our names in print. That all of us are hacks and shouldn’t even be considered authors.

Both of these sides depress the hell out of me. That any creative can look at another and think that they are somehow inferior based solely on the end-means that brought their work to the public is beyond sad. It’s the sort of divisiveness that accomplishes nothing, and ends up building ill will between people who should be supporting each other with everything they have. As I said before, it’s a small community.

So, if you see–or more importantly, if you are–one of those authors who looks across the aisle and sees someone who has chosen a different road, don’t look down. Go over. Shake their hand. Congratulate them. Be a part of the community, and be grateful that in this day of ADD and mass media explosion that we still have a way to tell our stories in print.

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