The Self-Publishing Debate: A Social Scientist Separates Fact from Fiction (Part 2 of 3)

This post by Dana Beth Weinberg originally appeared on Digital Book World on 12/4/13. Click here to begin with Part 1 in the same series, by the same author, also on Digital Book World (post will open in a new window or tab).

In the writers’ groups I attend, self-publishing is a touchy issue. I know a number of writers who served their time in the trenches, writing and submitting and rewriting and resubmitting their work over and over again to agents and publishers before that one magical “yes.” It’s not unusual to meet a writer who tried to get published for ten years or more before winning a publishing contract. These writers have overcome significant odds, and they are rightly proud of their achievements. In the same group, there are a number of writers who haven’t yet broken into traditional publishing or haven’t even tried but who have decided to self-publish. Some don’t have the war stories and battle scars from trying to break in, while others do. Despite not having the traditional publisher’s stamp of approval, all of them are also proud of their achievements and expect equal consideration as published authors. It might be easy for the traditionally published authors to maintain their sense of superiority over self-published authors (and, thus, their sense of comfort that they had done the right thing all those years that they waited and tried) were it not also for the token members of the group who have self-published and made a lot of money at it.

Is self-publishing an amateurish endeavor, a means of sharing stories, a strategic move in a writing career, or an entrepreneurial activity? In Part 1 of this blog, I examined the top priorities of the nearly 5,000 authors who responded to the 2013 Digital Book World and Writer’s Digest Author Survey in relation to whether and how they have published their work. Now I turn my attention to the differences in writing productivity for the four different types of authors identified in the survey: aspiring authors, self-published authors, traditionally published authors, and hybrid authors with a combination of self-published and traditionally published works.

The necessary ingredient to success in a writing career is actually writing. So how do our various types of authors stack up in terms of manuscripts completed, whether published or unpublished?


Click here to read the full post on Digital Book World.

Click here to read part 3 in the same series, by the same author, also on Digital Book World. (post will open in a new window or tab).