I've self published. Not once but twice. I've had conflicting results with it. On one hand it's an amazing and liberating thing that brings books to the masses. On the other hand, there is no filter. So everyone who wrote a book is playing on the same field. This means the next Salinger is shouting 'buy my book' right next to 1000 other authors of differing talent shouting the same thing.
I've been mulling over the problems with self-publishing, with an eye to a solution. I won't give the solution yet (because it's in a very nascent stage) but I can cover a lot of the problems:
- only reviews seem to result in sales. The difference between a book with 4 reviews and a book with 400 reviews is a sale. People aren't concerned about the cost, really, they're concerned about wasting their time. A traditional book comes with the guarantee that people in the business have liked and edited this book.
- Reviews cannot be gotten without convincing people to read your book.
- Reviews for self published books seem to fall into the same trap reviews for anything do when it's open to the public:
- 'This book said Disney was sexist, I think that is stupid and i disagree, THIS IS WRONG 1 STAR I HATE YOU!!1!'
- 'This book was the greatest book ever. I liked the parts where the vampyres kissed to exchange blood 5 STARS!!11!'
So, either your book is terrible or it's better than Lolita, Farewell to Arms and Clockwork Orange all at once. There has got to be a better way. Once that doesn't exploit the author or the potential reader. Instead it connects good books to good people. I think I have found it. More to come.