The Grinch That Blessed Self Publishing

I just spent an hour or so manually updating my sitemap (don't ask) with blog posts from 2007 and 2008. It turned out to be a surprising stroll down memory lane, surprising, because I thought I'd written most of those posts years ago. I was also surprised to see that I haven't been writing enough cautionary tales about self publishing lately, when I swear it used to be every other day! So I thought I'd put on my Grinch suit and remind newcomers of the downside of self publishing. My last real lecture on the subject came complete with a self diagnostic test for potential self publishers.

But sometime during the last year, I turned into a real softy. I realized this the other day when I was cleaning up some broken links on the website by using the Windows search tool to find mistyped file names embedded in web pages. Well, that helpful little dog almost had me in tears. There he was pawing away at the screen, wagging his tail, looking up with a puzzled expression when he couldn't find the file, then going back to work. After a couple minutes, I couldn't take it anymore. I began feeling like the jerk who pretends to throw a dog a tennis ball, but really hides it behind his back. I decided it was my fault he couldn't find the a file, I was just asking too much, and now I'm afraid to go back and look that puppy in the eye.

It turns out that many of the aspiring self publishers who contact me see self publishing as a kind of a journey. Selling a lot of books isn't their real goal, they don't even care about breaking even. Self publishing isn't a business decision for them but an experience to be enjoyed. This includes some authors who set up their own publishing business, but also some who paid a subsidy publisher to put their book into print. And I have to admit that if you see self publishing with print-on-demand as a form of self expression that just wasn't available a decade ago, nobody has any right to bring you down. Of course, nobody is forcing you to read my blog either:-)

Over the next couple months, I think I'll stick with bringing on a guest publisher interview every third post, and try to get my video production going again. I'm going to the On-Demand Conference in Boston in two weeks, so I should get a little insight into what's coming up on the technological side of the business. I just hope nobody has any dogs working as salesmen or I'm likely to come home with a $100,000 machine.

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