Woe Unto the Self – Publisher! Or Traditionally Published!

You know, I read an awful lot of writer blogs, agent blogs, book industry blogs, and blogs related to fantasy football. Okay, that last one isn’t related. I follow writers, editors, publishing companies, agents, and the occasional comedian on Twitter.

It’s astounding to me the vitriol of the traditional versus self publishing debate. Hatfields-McCoys. Great taste v. less filling. Mac v PC. Red sox fans v Yankees fans. The how-to-publish debate is on a level with these. Famous self pubbed authors are banned from online discussion boards of people wishing for a traditional contract. A blogger at a prominent news organization writes about how people will be sad when traditional publishers are gone, sparking a response from several self pub advocates that gave me mental images of fangs and claws.

In fact, as I post this, a small mob of villagers with pitchforks and torches is assembling in the culdesac outside.

I know that self publishing is still changing and growing, morphing like a butterfly. I hope. It could also be Mothra. Anyway, the next five years are going to be very interesting on this front.

Traditional publishing is changing as well. When you have equipment expenses, long building leases, global presence, and a two to three year lead time on books bring published, it’s hard to turn on s dime. Self publishing is the cigarette boat zooming toward an island in the distance. It’s fast, fleet, and nimble. Traditional pub is also a boat – a cruise ship. It takes longer to turn toward the same goal, but once it gets there it has an awful lot of passengers to compete with those on the self pub boat.

To throw another analogy out there, it seems like everyone is blogging, writing, and screeching about publishing as if it were a hundred yard dash, instead of the marathon it really is. People on both sides hold up shining examples to support their assertions.
Look, here’s Konrath and his success with self pub!

Yeah, but he was traditionally published first, building his brand.

And here’s Hocking, with her great self pub success.

Isn’t that the one who just published with a traditional company?

Yes and no. She’ll have both self published and traditional books.

Hmpf. Look at Rowling’s success with the Big 6 of traditional publishing.

Umm. She just announced she will be self pubbing her books on her own website.

And so on and so forth. I think authors of the future might be more of a mix of the two types of publishing. I myself have a query letter. I haven’t sent it to anyone yet, and I’m not entirely certain I ever will. Maybe I’ll self pub. Or maybe I’ll mail the query letter next week. Perhaps the better idea would be to let the dust settle and see where the industry goes in the next couple of years.

Or, I’ll be slain by the mob gathering outside. Think that’ll get my name in the papers, start some brand recognition?