Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Why I say a book is self-published

There seems to be some kind of annoyance going around among more traditionally-published authors over indie and self-published authors who are promoting their books as “self-published.” It appears that self-publishing is gaining in popularity among writers and that authors of self-published books are working harder to get some footing in today’s competitive market. Many self-published authors have actually been successful with their books and it seems like other self-published authors hope to be counted among that group, as well. Also, some authors who are not self-published tend to enjoy looking down on the self-published author because they “stuck it out” despite rejection or got the readership their fellow author could not.

Myself, I do not market my book as “self-published” – it is a POETRY book and I therefore market it as a poetry book – but if someone asked me who published it, then I will answer that the book is self-published. Also, when I talk about my efforts in self-publishing a book, or announce a new book that I myself got into print, I will note it is self-published. But I am not doing this with any hopes of gaining any kind of response or rewards from anyone.

I am ONLY being upfront with people about it.

I make no attempt to try to pretend that my own self-published books have been published by a traditional, POD or indie publisher. I am not going to hide under some unknown name and act like my book was selected for publication by someone else. And I am not going to tout my book as self-published hoping to gain any favor, attention or recognition among my peers.

My decision to self-publish my poetry books came out of a terrible experience with an indie publisher who reneged on her contract with me. I also took notice of several indie and traditional publishers closing their doors to poetry book submissions. So I decided I wanted to have complete control over what happens with my poetry books. The best way to make that happen was to self-publish them.

And my noting a book is self-published when it comes out is only my attempt to be straight with people about how this book came about. I am the one who wrote it, yes, but I am also the one who decided to publish it, hire an editor, hire a cover designer and upload the final, formatted document to a printing service. I am the one who did ALL of that and nobody else. It was all on me!

And I don’t mind noting as much. I’m going to be completely honest about this book and say, yes, it IS a self-published book, and leave it at that. I can only hope that the book will be judged by its contents and not for the fact that it is self-published, but unfortunately, there are book snobs out there who refuse to give any self-published book a chance.

All the same, I don’t promote my book as a self-published book. I say it’s a poetry book or a children’s book. But if they ask who published it, I’ll say it’s self-published. This is NOT my attempt to get better treatment, attention, notice, a pat on the back or to get a hundred thousand followers on Twitter. This is only me being honest about how the book was published.  That’s all it is and all it ever will be.

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