Response Piece to Response Pieces of Opinions (and a Response to an Opinion)

In my humble opinion, response pieces are fantastic. I don’t consider them to be a method of “feeding the trolls”, I see it as an opportunity to share how something has influenced us. I see it as a way of processing pain, or making sense of a complicated situation. It’s the best kind of writing prompt!

I suppose I feel this way because I treat everything that moves me as a writing project. Sometimes, this can mean ranting about things that upset me, and other times it can be writing about the things that inspire me. The things that move me entice me to write more passionately. Best of all, it allows me to process things that are weighing on my mind. Writing is a free therapist for the soul.

I have written many of response pieces over the years. Needless to say, I am all for the response piece.

I was greatly offended–and quite frankly, hurt–by an opinion piece stating that self-publishing was an insult to the written word.

It’s really not my intention to be all woe is me here, but being a self-published author is tough. There’s a stigma about being a self-published author. As author Nikki Rae wrote in her kick ass response post, we have to work harder to prove our worth.

A lot has already been written on this subject, I know. But again, it makes for a great writing prompt. Without further ado, here are my responses to a few of the more infuriating opinions voiced in the article:

via GIPHY

Good writers only become good because they’ve undertaken an apprenticeship. The craft of writing is a life’s work. It takes at least a decade to become a decent writer, tens of thousands of hours. Your favorite authors might have spent years writing works that were rejected. But if a writer is serious about her craft, she’ll keep working at it, year after year. At the end of her self-imposed apprenticeship, she’ll be relieved that her first works were rejected because only now can she see how bad they were.

Self-published authors take on an apprenticeship too, so to speak. More established writers will take novice writers beneath their wings and offer words of advice and encouragement, almost like a teacher of sorts. We learn by example and we are constantly seeking to improve ourselves.

We manage our own marketing and promoting, and we work just as hard writing as traditionally published authors. We dedicate hours upon hours to our work, squeezing in writing time before or after our day jobs, and then we revise that work over and over again. We have the same goal in mind: to produce the best books we can for our readers.

Looking back on my early work, I can see that I have grown as an author. But that’s to be expected, the more hours you spend writing and editing your work, the better you become. Growth is inevitable no matter how an author chooses to publish his or her work. Even my favourite traditionally published authors improved with each novel they wrote. This is common in every other profession out there too, the longer you do it, the more you hone your skills.

 

The problem with self-publishing is that it requires zero gatekeepers.

Umm…false. We work directly with our readers to provide them with excellent stories. Our readers are our gatekeepers, and trust me…they can tell a good book from a bad book and they will let the masses know what they think.

We have gatekeepers, and they are our audience. In my books, that’s a double score.

From what I’ve seen of it, self-publishing is an insult to the written word, the craft of writing, and the tradition of literature.

I call bullshit. The craft of writing is not ruined because more people are doing it, it’s enhanced. Why on earth would readers be upset about having more books to choose from? Not to mention, I’m pretty sure that every single author ever, even the traditionally published ones, have faced at least one person telling them that their work is complete and utter tosh. They kept writing anyway, and so we will we.

Truthfully…I feel pretty bad for the author of the original piece. I’ve read so many amazing self-published novels, and I never would have gotten to experience them if I’d shared her views. Prejudice and superiority will blind you. 

via GIPHY

 

1 Comment

  1. tierney

    I’m not disagreeing with you, mostly because I really don’t have any skin in the game and aren’t well versed enough to know the ins and outs of either side. That being said, I think it’s super similar to any profession in which people decide to “do it themselves”. For example, relators (ComFree), musicians (self-recording artists), teachers (those that homeschool- most only need a high school diploma!), even people who decide to book their own vacations every single day sans a travel agent. There are pros and cons to each side and we could all argue back and forth about the benefits vs. the drawbacks on letting “the professionals handle it”. At the end of the day, I think it’s personal preference and based on what your ultimate goal is. Some people really couldn’t even fathom the thought of self-publishing because of the work and attention to detail it would require, whereas others feel it connects them more to their work and audience. I think that if you’re making money off of your passion and you’re able to do it without giving a cut to the big guys, kudos to you. Most importantly, I think we need to recognize when “professionals” are needed/required (in all aspects, not just writing), vs. being able to figure it out yourself (and save a buck or two while at it). This is your world, you do what fits you best! Quick question though: why is it you’ve decided to self-publish rather than pitch your books/series to publishers (if that’s even how it goes…?)

    * When I say “professionals” I really do mean it with air quotes, not saying anyone is any more professional than the rest
    * Avid reader, but I am pleading ignorance in that I do not know how the publishing/published author thing works at all!

    Reply

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