And now time for the age-old -- maybe not age-old, but you know what I mean -- argument. Which is better, self-pub or trad-pub? Only one way to find out...
Have a rational discussion about it.
I love Harry Hill's TV Burp, don't you?
this conversation is age-old, I'm going to skip straight to the
conclusion: fact is, writers everywhere see self-publishing as their
chance, and cheapskate readers think, 'ooh, fifty pence, sorted', or
just don't even realise it's self-pub because it's got a gazillion five
star reviews (speaking of which, I might write a post on Amazon and it's
bloody reviews, because it is time for a rant/lecture towards my mum).
There's something about self-pub
for writers. It's like a shiny sign for the lazier of us lot (including
me) that screams, 'Come here! No work needed!'. We see it and know we
won't need to query or go through the scary route of talking to people
about our book and asking them if they'll go for it and invest their
time and emotions and money into making it a success. And that's the bit
that's most attractive. Our stories are our babies. If you went up to a mother or father pushing a pram and said, 'Shit, your baby is fugly', they wouldn't be impressed -- and not just about you swearing in front of their child. It hurts.It offends. And, when going through traditional publishing avenues, i.e., querying an agent, the agent sending stuff to a publishing house, etc., the chance is that someone's going to say, 'Shit, your baby is fugly'. Not in those words, perhaps, and maybe it wouldn't even be the meaning -- you might just get a polite 'no' -- but it hurts and it offends and it really isn't at all nice.
However, as we all know, publishing on your own doesn't make less work. Nor does it mean that people won't come up to you and say, 'Shit, your baby is fugly', although it is less likely to happen as, chances are, if you haven't paid for an editor and a cover designer and shamelessly advertised yourself, no one will even know that your baby is alive and for sale (okay, maybe that metaphor has been a bit overused and gone a bit too far, but you get the point).
So, back to the question of 'Which is better?', the answer is, of course, neither (unless you're a discerning reader who has been tricked into reading a load of shit that couldn't ever end up traditionally published). For some people, publishing their novel or short story/poem collection or whatever by themselves will be a simple, non-scary, comfort-zone kind of thing that rakes in a reasonable bit of money. For others, it will be a disaster. For the lucky few, it will shoot them into international book-stardom that acknowledges all the damn hard work they've gone through. And the exact same is true for traditional publishing.
If this is a decision you're making, then the cheesy answer is to listen to your heart. And if your heart picks self-pub, recalibrate your hearing device to make sure you didn't listen to your fear instead. If your heart's still up for self-pub, don't let anybody tell you different.
Furthermore, if you disagree with anything I have just said, don't listen. I have not got to this point in my writing career yet, although it is something I've thought about a lot.