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What’s YOUR Definition of Self-Publishing? [Discussion]

Indie publishing. Vanity press. Subsidy publishing.

Many throw around these terms when referring to certain self-published work (and services), but what do they REALLY mean?

In Is Self-Publishing Really Vanity Press?, @JohnBetcher writes:

The answer lies in the quality of the product. Can anyone get a really lame piece of writing POD printed and onto Amazon? Sure. “See my book? It’s in print.” That’s Vanity Press.

But if you have really worked, and you have some writing talent to go along with your work, and you’ve engaged any help you need to make a great finished product, well . . . that’s a whole different animal. That — in my mind — is “self-publishing.”

As a reply to John’s post (and our RT of it), @StephenTiano wrote:

…the problem with all the self-published books that sell less than 100 copies. I mean, are they all well-written and about things that people would like to read but just poorly marketed? Somehow I doubt that. Because if they’re poorly conceived and poorly written, then that is vanity publishing.


Simply bringing up the term “vanity press” can certainly spark differences of opinion, so we want to hear from you!

  • What’s YOUR definition of self-publishing?
  • How is it different from (or similiar to) vanity press/publishing?
  • How has the meaning of these terms changed over the past ten (or twenty) years?

We look forward to a great discussion! Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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How Should We Ease “Self-Publishing Gridlock?” [Discussion]

Quick programming note: We mentioned on our podcast last week that we’d be discussing branding this week. Shannon had to go out of town suddenly, however, due to a family emergency — so we’re going to put that topic on hold until next week.

There’s been quite a bit of talk the past few weeks about the importance of distinguishing quality self-published work from the well, not so great.

The need was first brought to our attention on Self-Publishing Central with John Betcher’s article An Open Letter to Amazon. The post was recently revised with additions and changes from the community. It serves as an eloquently written plan for easing “self-pub gridlock.” As John puts it:

Unfortunately, at present, there is no analogous way for potential readers to sift through the huge mounds of newly printed self- and indie-published books. The reader (read as “potential book buyer”) has only book covers, jacket blurbs, sample passages and reader reviews to aid her in distinguishing the published gems from the rubble. (Kirkus and The New York Times don’t review self- or indie-publications.) Such tools might seem sufficient, until one considers that there are a million or so new book covers and blurbs to view, samples to read and reader reviews to consider every year.

No single reader can process this huge amount of information. The result is self-pub gridlock.

His letter advocates Amazon.com creating an “Amazon Select Indie Book Index,” built from independent book reviews, to guide readers toward quality self-published fare.

Discussion Questions

Photo: MSVG | Flickr

So, we want to hear from you:

  • Would a ranking index built upon independent ratings like the one John advocates help ease self-publishing gridlock?
  • What other ways do we have (or SHOULD we have) to distinguish quality self-published work?
  • Or, should self-published work not be competing amongst its kin but instead against the traditionally published genre to which it belongs?
  • How have YOU made your self-published book stand out from the rest?

Last time we had a discussion there were some wonderful viewpoints shared in the comments — let’s make this one just as good!

If you’d like to learn more about soliciting independent reviews of your book, check out Where to Find Reviewers for your First Book or Part 2 of our interview with John Betcher, posting tomorrow.

What Do You Love About Self-Publishing? [Discussion]

By:KuzeytacWhat a great discussion we had yesterday about self-publishing “haters!” You all had some very interesting and insightful comments, both on the blog and on Twitter. We’ll be posting a follow-up soon.

In the meantime, however, we thought something a bit more positive was in store for today — and we want to hear from you!

If you’ve been through the self-publishing process, we want to know:

  • Why do you love your self-published book?
  • How did it feel to hold your book in your hands for the first time?
  • What was it like to see your book for sale on Amazon/online?
  • How did you react when you sold your first copy?

If you haven’t been through the process:

  • What appeals to you about self-publishing?
  • Which is the biggest factor that would drive you to self-publish?
  • What would you say to others who react negatively to self-publishing?

We know everyone may not be so “in love” with the self-publishing process or their book, but we are looking for the positive today — surely there’s something good you can share with others!

Share your experience in the comments or @duolit!

Why So Much Hatred for Self-Publishing? [Discussion]

“NO author should PAY to be published.”

“SELF-publishing is CHEATING.”

“All paid publishing companies will STEAL your money and give you a LOW-QUALITY end product.”

“Sure, self-publish. If you only want your GRANDMA to read your book.”

Ever hear phrases like the above? We have. And more.

A few days ago, we decided to visit a few popular writing forums on the web to offer advice to those considering self-publishing. We expected to find frustrated, hopeful authors with more questions than answers, eagerly looking for help.

What we found instead was vitrol.Continue Reading