Wednesday, 17 August 2011

The changing of minds.

A comment from Cat on my last post got me thinking. As I drafted my reply I realised that, in my transition from dreams of finding a traditional publisher to getting my self-publishing clothes on, I've had to reframe they way I think about this book.

Reframing - a phrase from my old days as a therapist. (Yes, a play therapist, with traumatised children. It feels like another life now). It means the process of changing one's thinking, generally from a somewhat negative approach to finding positives. For some children the prospect of two Christmases and birthdays begins to compensate for their parents no longer being together.

For me - it's been a slow, and often painful process, dragging myself towards a more positive view of self-publishing. I've been on the fringes of writing and publishing for several years, and watched opinions change. Ten years ago, self-publishing was (rightly?) called 'vanity publishing.' Writers unable to find a traditional home for their novels, with contracts and advances and royalties, could pay someone to do it for them.

Two things have changed: traditional publishing has been squeezed; it is unclear how many people still read, but fewer and fewer books make money - and making money is the function of any company. Which means the chance of any book making it to the shelves of Waterstones are slim. At the same time, print-on-demand (POD) services have made it easier for writers to produce books for themselves, with minimum costs, and with all the marketing opportunities the internet has to offer.

As a result, anyone can do it. And, while, the quality of much self-published material is little better than eel vomit (Nicola Morgan's term, in 'Write to be Published'), one can defend the right of any aspiring writer to take a manuscript and make it real. For, among the dross, there are gems. Dan Holloway (here) has shown how, with hard work and persistence, self-publishing can become an aspiration in its own right, by-passing any thought of traditional publishing. Just as there are gems in indie music, self-publishing is now unveiling wonderful books that would never emerged from their writers' dreams without the opportunities of POD.

I know all this. But in my head I've had to take an idealogical leap - from daring to dream of editors with big desks and fat wallets with their proofreaders and their typesetters and their marketing departments who would make my book look so wonderful everyone would buy it and people would look at me in the street, oh so you are Jo Carroll (tell me all writers have little dreams like that?) - to a recognition that self-publishing is not only valid, but an exciting and worthwhile road to travel.

Reframing. And yes, it has made my head hurt occasionally - but I've made it.

And - ps - if anyone can tell me how to reduce links to a nice tidy 'here', in red, for people to click on so I don't have long addresses, I'd be grateful.

1 comment:

  1. Final para now makes no sense as Mark has ridden to the rescue - and now I know how to do it. Many thanks, Mark.