Both traditional publishing and self publishing have their adherents, and the battle lines are being drawn.
So, how come there are battle lines?
If someone wants to self-publish, go ahead! If someone wants to sign a contract with their traditional publisher, go ahead! I may care about the outcomes for my friends, because I care about my friends, but it’s hard for me to get worked up because some dude I don’t know just signed a contract for books that will come out in 2014. It’s his choice. So maybe he doesn’t make as much money. I generally don’t get exercised about unknown people who make business choices that only impact their personal lives. That’s because I think of writing as a business, something that I should approach rationally, with reasonable questions in mind, not as a religion that should be taken on faith and not doubted.
Here’s a little test you can run so that you can differentiate between a business model and a religion.
- Do you think that everyone should do it your way?
- Do you think that everyone that disagrees with you simply doesn’t understand what you know so well?
- Do you use words to describe people who disagree with you that are derogatory in nature?
- Do you secretly (or not so secretly) think that everyone doing it differently is misguided and just needs to come to the light?
Congratulations! You are espousing a religion.
- Do you think that profit and loss depend on individual circumstances?
- Can you list circumstances that make profit more likely?
- Do you accept that, even under the best of circumstances, loss might still occur?
- Do you believe that reasonable people might differ, and that different ways of doing things might still both prove profitable?
Congratulations! You probably have a business model.
Please note that there are business model/religion types on both sides of the self/traditional publishing divide. There is nothing wrong with having a religion, or holding strong beliefs. Just try to recognize that, as with all religions, someone else holds different beliefs dear, and there’s no need to vilify them for it.