snlipkin

Contributing writer for The Artifice.

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    Self-publishing: friend or foe to the literary world?

    Self-publishing has become a new and exciting industry with great opportunities for a lot of writers. As a writer though, I often feel conflicted about the pros this has for myself but perhaps the cons it has for the greater literary world that I love. Does the flood of self-publishing depreciate the quality and opinion of the works being produced? Is this actually beneficial for the literary world or is it harmful?

    • I don't know too much about all the details behind self-publishing, but I believe it is a good thing for the literary world; the writers and the readers both.It is good for writers because it is an accessible option. Everyone is protective of their writing, and many are insecure about sharing it (at least in the beginning). When one can self-publish, it is easier to stay anonymous. And it helps to develop a portfolio for up-and-coming writers. It is a good way to show the publishing industry serious work ethic by finishing and sharing a work with a wide audience. Hopefully, if they take good care to copyedit and proofread the work, the industry will also see potential in the actual work, too.Readers are advantaged in the sense that they, too, have more access to more writing. The only disadvantage might be is if there is a lot of poor writing, it might waste their time. But, I think one can determine early on if they like a text they are reading, and can skip along to another work if they are bored, frustrated, or uninterested. Since cover art is a less elaborate option (if it is an option at all), and since it is, in truth, something that will draw buyers towards a certain publication, writers have to work harder to create something interesting and well written. Hopefully, 50 Shades of Grey is a rare exception of poor, self-published writing that turned into a best seller. – Laura Bowman 5 years ago
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    • I myself have questioned how self-publishing will effect both the quantity and quality of materials being published. I personally am not a fan of the self-publish movement. While publishing houses should not have absolute say it what is interesting to mass readers I still feel they serve as a good crowd sourcing and screening. I feel having your work published my HarperCollins goes a lot farther than Amazon publishing. Should it be that way? I feel yes. This publishing house is a leader because it has produced best-sellers right and left. They have the platform to take a book and make it popular just by it coming from their house. We need more publishing houses to start rising up and creating their brand. This would create jobs and give writers a medium for their voices. Self publishing is great, but if it never makes it past Amazon online is that the best it can do? No, it needs a team behind it to make it soar. The literary world has become so segmented, with readers sticking mainly to their genre and publishers, yet if a dedication is formed to a house, and not just an author, they will experience a myriad of texts. -Sarah Patterson – sarahpatterson 5 years ago
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    • I've spoken to English professors and writers who generally agreed that self-publishing wasn't necessarily a bad thing, and could be an asset to writers later seeking conventional representation. In the modern era I think it's helpful to get any exposure possible. – merrittcorrigan 5 years ago
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    • Self-publishing has rocked the literary world and has pros and cons that you could consider addressing in your piece. Being able to circumvent the publishing companies can lead to the question of what types of authors and subjects these companies support. Unfortunately, the pool is not as diverse as it could be. African Americans, American Indians, and Latinos are some of the most under-represented demographics as characters in the literature that gets published and as authors that get published. So, are publishers hindering diversification (albeit, because they know what will sell) and is self-publishing a way to spread pieces by or about under-represented demographics? Literature can really spread cultural awareness, so it would be interesting to see the rise in self-publishing take advantage of the opportunity to do so. – moepsen3 5 years ago
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    • And how does one go about advertising? – Candice Evenson 5 years ago
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    • I think self-publishing can be a positive means by which important information can get to the general public. Though I find myself relying upon reviews on sites such as Good Reads and Amazon when making decisions on self-published books, my position as a social scientist also informs me that self-selection bias (i.e., those who care the most - hate it, love it - are usually the ones who take the time to review) can occur. A book that may be quite good could get a horrible one-star review from someone and then it's dead in the water. Do authors with the means (be it monetary, connections, advertising, etc.) to circulate novels "in exchange for an *honest* review" have an advantage over those who do not? These are the thoughts that swim through my mind when I contemplate self-publication. Does anyone else have experience with this? – lrremi01 5 years ago
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    • Especially in the digital era, there are so many new publishing avenues, and publishing was already a very rapidly changing business. Self-publishing in less expensive routes could allow, as mentioned above, for more marginalized voices to enter the literary field. However, there's also the question of quality. One poorly edited book too many could turn people off to reading other self-published works where the authors spent more time finetuning everything. It'd be difficult to make a conclusive statement because quality and reasons for self-publishing are incredibly diverse, but it's worth dissecting. – emilydeibler 5 years ago
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