Self-publishing is fine, but quality comes first

Here is my view on self-publishing.

Cosmas Mogere was right in “New writers overlook traditional publishers for genuine
reasons” (Saturday Nation, April 18). However, self-publishing may morph into “vanity publishing”, that is, writing and publishing own work for pride, or fame, or the thrill of seeing the work published either electronically or in print (magazine or book).
Most market for this writing is personal blogs, Facebook, Twitter, online self-publishing platforms like Kindle and others where everybody can put their work because there are no committees that sit down to determine whether the work is publishable or not.
Traditional vanity publishing is where a publisher asks the writer to foot part of the publishing bill, but the modern vanity writing and publishing is the easiest because the writer publishes his or her work and it follows no stringent rules, guidelines and there are no deadlines to be met. Vanity writers rush to self-publishing when they face it rough with mainstream publishers, especially if their work lacks creativity or the publisher’s desk is already full.
While I disagree that “self-publishing is an excuse for complacency”, if left unchecked to disgruntled writers and those out just to see their work in print no matter what without caring to do justice to the work, self-publishing will not produce quality work.
But as Cosmas points out, this can be circumvented by engaging professional content editing services, working with professional book cover designers and following standard publishing guidelines. This way, no traditional publisher will boast of producing better products than the self-published writer.
On the other hand, if professional services are above poverty line, one has to do it him or herself. If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself, right? So, the “vanity writer-cum-publisher” (if I may use the term just for effect), has to go the extra mile and learn basic editing skills.
If self-publishing will stand the test of time, virulent censure by unforgiving critics and lambasting from the advocates of mainstream publishing, then quality works need to be put out there.

The writer is freelance writer, blogger and poet
by Vincent de Paul
Read articles by other writers on the Saturday Nation's READERS' CORNER.


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