Is this guy a shill for the traditional publishing industry?

I found this blog post, and it annoyed the crap out of me.  I don’t know if this guy is a shill for the publishing industry, an elitist, or just hopelessly behind the times.  Here’s what he says:

  1. That self publishing used to be referred to as “vanity” publishing.
  2. It’s important to remember that you can’t get mainstream outlets to review self published work.
  3. You have to package and ship all the books yourself.  That is, if you have more than 35 friends and family that ever buy them in the first place.
  4. You may be able to make it work if you can find a sponsor to help with the costs.

When I read his comments, I had assumed that I had stumbled on something posted years ago.  The actual date at the top: September 6, 2012.  No way!  Then the guy goes on to say that you can’t reuse any of the article without his express permission. 

On one hand, I can see his point.  If I had written something so idiotic, I’d not want anyone to repost it either.  On the other hand, maybe this guy has never heard of “fair use.”  This is what the Electronic Frontier Foundations says: 

Short quotations will usually be fair use, not copyright infringement. The Copyright Act says that “fair use…for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.”

So, on to the rebuttal:

  1. Vanity publishing and the new self publishing are nowhere near the same thing.  In the old days, if you wanted your book out there but no publisher would pick you up, these predatory companies would try to get you to pony up money to print your book.  With no real way to get your book to market, you had virtually no chance of ever recouping your costs.  Today, you can stand toe to toe with the big boys by publishing your work as ebooks and Print On Demand (POD).  You do have to fight to get your book noticed, but there’s no huge barrier to distribution like what used to exist.
  2. His point is true enough.  It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to get noticed by the mainstream media.  His implication, it seems, is that you’ll never by successful without this notice.  It is this implication that I contest strongly.  It takes work, but you can get your book out there.  There are too many who have done it to say that it can’t be done.  Produce a quality product, get it reviewed on as many blogs as you can, and you can find buyers.
  3. Huh?  Package and shipping books?  What?  Has he ever heard of the Kindle?  The Nook?  Smartphones?  IPads?  That’s not even mentioning POD.
  4. Again, this guy seems to think that there’s no way to sell books without having them in bookstores and having them reviewed by the mainstream media.  He’s out of touch with the new realities.  Don’t get me wrong, producing your book is an investment, one that can be quite steep.  You have to take the time to write a quality product, pay an artist, pay a graphic designer, and pay an editor.  I’m doing mine as cheaply as I possibly can to still produce Power of the Mages in a professional manner, and I anticipate spending $1000 on these costs.

 Bottom line: there are positives and negatives to self publishing, but this guy seems to be living in the past.  If you’re going to criticize the practice, at least get your facts straight.



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