Here’s Why You Should Wait Before Self-Publishing Your Novel

by Mike Duran · 90 comments

If contemporary writers have lost anything, it’s patience. Nowadays, author empowerment has preempted what used to be status quo for our industry — waiting. Tired of submitting queries to agents, waiting months for publishers just to reject your novel? No problem. Now you can do it yourself. As a writer, patience used to be a virtue. But now, it’s an option. Thanks to self-publishing,  you never again have to wonder if your book will see the light of day.

Maybe that’s why I’m so impressed with Jessica Dotta.

Jessica was one of my first-ever crit partners. She was working on a Gothic Historical entitled Born of Persuasion at the time (back in 2005). We often critiqued each others work. She was part of the Penwrights group along with Gina Holmes and Ane Mulligan. In fact, I mentioned Jessica, Ane, and Gina in the Acknowledgements to The Resurrection. They played a huge part in my development as a writer.

Jessica, like many unpublished authors, is a terrific writer. Born of Persuasion has rich characters, is well researched, and beautifully written.  However, Jessica’s quest for publication was a familiar one. She solicited agents, attended conferences and workshops, and endured multiple  rejections. But she kept coming up empty. After four or five years of this, most authors would be planning to self-publish. Yet Jessica clung to her dreams, and remained patient. So I was thrilled to hear that Jessica Dotta has finally been contracted, signing her historical trilogy with Tyndale House Publishers! Its estimated release date is mid-2013. The announcement at Novel Rocket was fittingly entitled News That’s 10 Years in the Making.

10 years!

And just think, if Jessica had not been patient, this would have never happened.

Of course, some may interpret this as a slam against self-publishing. It’s not. I’ve done both: Had books traditionally published and self-published a digital novella. There are wonderful options for authors these days. Nevertheless, most authors would agree that being traditionally published is still the ideal option.

So why do we give in to self-publishing so easily?

Like many, I believe that good stories cannot remain unnoticed. Strong writing, compelling characters, and intriguing plots will eventually win someone, somewhere, over. I think Jessica is a testimony to this. Sure, it might take 10 years. But so what? The problem with contemporary writers is that we don’t give our stories enough time to go unnoticed. We get antsy, impatient, gripe about the system, and concede to self publish. Usually, way too soon.

The question you should ask yourself is this, Are you willing to wait 10 years? Is your story good enough, your writing strong enough, to endure multiple slush piles? Is your perseverance so dogged, your goal so fixed, that no amount of rejection can deter you? Are you willing to wait?

I’m glad Jessica Dotta did.

Jessica Thomas March 11, 2012 at 6:00 PM

Very inspiring. Thanks for sharing this.

Jill March 11, 2012 at 6:19 PM

Some great writers of the past were originally self-published (Jane Austen, for example). I don’t know if they were impatient so much as they needed to prove themselves in an industry that has been historically difficult to break into. And if it was difficult 300 years ago when there was a much smaller pool of writers, then the difficulty today is highly amplified–which means that your friend has achieved something great! Congrats to her.

John Patterson March 11, 2012 at 7:24 PM

Very inspiring to hear, Mike. Thank you very much for sharing the news.

Personally, I think I’d be willing to wait ten years, if that’s what it took for my books to be published by a house that I trust. Of course, I’d rather see someone pick it up right away, but I’ll have to see what develops.

Kessie March 11, 2012 at 7:48 PM

Ten years of refining is what really separates the wheat from the chaff. Everybody I’ve talked to or read about, it took them ten years to get professionally published. But their work also has that professional sparkle to it that amateurs don’t have.

R. L. Copple March 11, 2012 at 9:51 PM

What about the writer who no longer thinks going the traditional publishing route is the “ideal” any longer? That they have a better chance of succeeding in self-publishing than if they were successful getting a traditional publisher? No matter how long that might take?

I think that is a growing pool of authors out there.

Tony March 12, 2012 at 3:51 AM

It’s all about your reasons. I think a lot of writers are impatient and proud, and so they self-publish. They figure the gatekeepers just have no idea what they’re doing. Not surprisingly, these writers are met with extremely limited “success.”

Of course, there are other reasons people self-publish. Plenty of other reasons.

But, yeah, I agree. Many writers have tossed patience out the window.

Patrick Todoroff March 12, 2012 at 5:23 AM

I’m happy for her and certainly admire her perseverance. (Really) It paid off. However, I’m unconvinced traditional publishing is the “moral high ground.” (said the guy who made the tough decision to self-publish his first novel)

“Of course you think that…” you say. Personally, I needed to kick that story out of the house and move on to my next one. I also agree with R.L and Tony that there are plenty of reasons for authors to opt for the self-pub route other that lack of patience.

Mike Duran March 12, 2012 at 7:03 AM

This is in response to the self-publishing vs. traditional publishing comments.

Patrick said, “I’m unconvinced traditional publishing is the ‘moral high ground.'” Rick asked, “What about the writer who no longer thinks going the traditional publishing route is the ‘ideal’ any longer? That they have a better chance of succeeding in self-publishing than if they were successful getting a traditional publisher?”

Traditional publishing might not be a “moral high ground,” but it definitely has more advantages to an author. The obvious reasons: (1) No money out of your pocket for printing and distribution costs, (2) Much, much broader distribution, and (3) Industry respect. I think those are the big three.

While there may be some advantages to self-publishing over traditional publishing, I think those advantages are few and pretty specific. Rick suggested that some novels would “have a better chance of succeeding in self-publishing.” Honestly, I think that number is slim and dependent upon our definition of “success.” If the author considers selling a couple hundred books a “success,” then, yeah, self-publishing is a viable choice. But unless the author (1) Has an existing, rather significant platform, or (2) A uniquely niche story and a corresponding audience, then I can’t see how traditional publishing is not the ideal. (I suppose you can add an author who IS traditionally published and is self-publishing to compliment his/her catalog.) In fact, even successful self-published authors inevitably migrate to traditional publishing (think Amanda Hocking or The Shack).

We shopped The Resurrection for 3-4 years. It was well-received, reached Pub Board a couple times, but never got the green light. Frustrating. Eventually, my first agent and I had split. I was at a crossroads. I felt so strongly about the novel that I wanted to get it in print and believed it could sell. But I’d resolved to exhaust all avenues before I self-published. I’m glad I did.

All that to say, I’m not dissing self-publishing. I just think there is virtue in aspiring to traditional publication first.

Liliy March 12, 2012 at 8:18 AM

“Those advantages are few and pretty specific.”

Which advantages are you specifically thinking of? After weighing the options, the advantages of self-publishing outweighed traditional as I choose which direction I planned to go: Control over cover & editing (who I hire), retaining my rights to the work, immediate access to sales, monthly payments, better royalties, a global market, and no required compete clauses…just to name a few. And there are near endless other examples:

And on a side note–Self-Publishing involves patience, especially if you’re serious about the craft. A great post that addresses the rush and lack of patience you’re referring to can be found right here: 😀

Mike Duran March 12, 2012 at 10:04 AM

Great links, Liliy! Oh yeah, there’s definite advantages to self-publishing. Maybe I haven’t said that enough. I had fun self-publishing Winterland and would / will do it again. However, that’s working for me for a couple reasons, as I’ve mentioned: (1) I’m traditionally published and (2) I have a fairly active web presence. I think the dividing point for authors is (1) What the author deems as a success, and (2) How much work are they willing / able to put into something OTHER THAN WRITING (i.e., marketing, publishing, etc.).

This may be a generalization based on experience, but the majority of writers I know who have self-published a book aren’t doing much with it. The book store where I did my first signing (B&N), the PR rep told me she refuses to have book signings for self-pubbed authors anymore. They just don’t attract enough of a crowd. So, yeah. there’s definitely pluses to self-publishing. I just think the ideal — in most cases — is to wait and have someone else foot the bill. Thanks so much for commenting, Liliy!

Liliy March 12, 2012 at 10:36 AM

It’s true, traditional publishing still plays a role right now, but as more and more choose to bypass traditional publishing completely (like myself) –we’ll see how the market changes.

Only time will tell~ Should be fun either way. (And those like yourself with a foot in both pools will probably be the best off.)

Patrick Todoroff March 12, 2012 at 8:40 AM

I’ve heard all that and agree for the obvious stated reasons. However the notion that the decision NOT to self-publish was the critical factor in her getting picked up a decade later is suspect.

Over that time, she could have developed a series with a following that might have garnered a larger contract; she could have discovered a completely different vein of inspiration; she might have had a Hocking-like bidding war over her next project… who knows?

It certainly might have been the right decision for her. And that’s fine. I’m just questioning the implicit logic of your title and the post’s assumptions.

Mike Duran March 12, 2012 at 9:08 AM

Fair enough, Patrick. You said, “The notion that the decision NOT to self-publish was the critical factor in her getting picked up a decade later is suspect. ” But it WAS the critical factor. If she’d self-published, there would be no need for a traditional publisher to consider her. Unless, the book was selling well. But that would mean (1) She did the legwork to get it to sell and (2) Getting it to sell as a self-published work was just a means to get it distributed through a traditional publisher.

Patrick Todoroff March 12, 2012 at 9:22 AM

Of course a traditional publisher would have considered her. She would have kept writing, right? She would have submitted her second novel, or her fifth. It’s not inherently an ‘either/or’ choice. It’s not an automatic death sentence or an irrevocable Morlock/Eloi path of destiny.

Mike Duran March 12, 2012 at 9:30 AM

Right. Not an automatic death sentence at all. But her trilogy is off the table. At least temporarily. And if that’s her Magnum Opus, then writing other stuff to pitch may be problematic. I’m not exactly sure how traditional publishers now view self-published material. I think if it can be shown to be selling, they consider it. But if it’s not — whether through her lack of platform, marketing skills, etc. — then what? All that to say, it IS a decision that has ramifications.

Patrick Todoroff March 12, 2012 at 9:59 AM

I’m not following you here.

If her trilogy has been contracted, of course it’s “off the table.” But she’s free to write other material and pursue other avenues.

If her work is quality (which you say it is) and a lack of marketing platform is keeping it from a broader audience, why wouldn’t a traditional house pick it up and release it in another format or title? There’s money to be made.

All decisions have ramifications. My point is there’s not a dichotomy.
Unless you hold the assumption self-pubbed books and self-pubbed writers are somehow “less valid”, and the avenues mutually exclusive, there’s no reason a writer can’t do both, start with one and go to the other, or any number of possibilities.

That said, I don’t want to threadjack or do anything to diminish your friend’s accomplishment. Best of luck to her.

Mike Duran March 12, 2012 at 10:09 AM

Thanks, Patrick. I definitely don’t want to set myself up as an apologist for traditional publishing. I don’t know enough about how publishers typically approach self-pubbed works. I’m sure it’s changing, like everything else. Blessings!

R. L. Copple March 12, 2012 at 10:31 AM

A few thoughts. One, sometimes whether to self-publish or not is more a business decision than anything else. After all, as some here seem to be suggesting, getting a book out every ten years isn’t a career. Not unless you can live on $3000.00 to $9000.00 over ten years. Most people would have a hard time living on that for one year. Spend that same ten years even getting one book out a year, and the combined sales could easily exceed that if the book is good.

But let’s go back to the new writer and their impatience. I think that impatience is more about quality of writing than whether one self-publishes or not. The only real difference is self-publishing you can get it published now rather than potentially later. If the self-published writer is impatient, it can lead them to not get the editing and help they need to do it “right.” But we are measuring success by getting published, which I think is a wrong way to look at it. So here’s the two scenarios.

One, is the one you give an example of. Author writes book, goes through process of getting agent and then getting publisher. Takes ten years, grueling process, no doubt. Lots of rewrites that might make it better, might edit the voice out of the work too. But for a new writer, good to learn the basics of good storytelling, etc. But in the end, book gets published after ten years. Decent reviews, let’s just say the publishing company did its job and edited it well for typos and grammar, and there are few to none.

Two, author self-publishes. Writes book, perhaps does some basic editing, but doesn’t get a lot of help. So maybe storytelling isn’t up to snuff. Book has many typos or grammar errors. IOW, the stereotypical self-published book. It gets put up on Amazon, maybe POD’ed in paperback, and the author moves onto writing the next book. Meanwhile, few sales happen because people check the sample and it doesn’t grab them or they see too many typos and errors in the first chapter. The author might get his mom to put up a review, but there are few reviews up, if any, and most of them if they are honest, will say the story wasn’t good, and the editing was non-existent.

But said author learns more about the craft and writes the next book, and does a better job. And with each book, increases in ability, craft, etc., gets more editing help so he/she puts out higher quality, fewer typos and grammar issues, etc. So over the course of ten years, if he or she writes a 100K book each year, he or she will have reached the estimated one million word mark when a writer tends to get to professional level writing. And they have ten books out.

Now that first book or two that might be pretty bad, some would suggest would destroy that writer’s reputation. What is more likely to happen is the books are ignored and few know about them, until the author starts writing and selling well. Then someone might check earlier works (if he or she hasn’t already pulled the titles off from embarrassment) and say, “Well, the author is great now, but avoid those earlier works.” And in the rare event that such a badly written novel achieves popularity as a great example of bad writing that authors tend to enjoy poking fun at, it is a simple matter to use a different by-line if the original one becomes trashed.

But, the first author, unless they’ve been busy writing away all those ten years at the same pace as the self-published author while they were sending the original manuscript out and rewriting as requested, will only have that one novel and maybe a sequel novel written, no where near those one million words of “creative writing” experience that it takes to really establish your voice and skills. The second author has, and one could project, has reached professional levels in the same amount of time that the first author did assuming they were teachable (as we’re comparing success here).

But let’s assume the first author gets a $3000.00 advance. Oh, why not make it $5,000.00. Let’s be generous to this first book of a first time author. What has the self-published author made during that same time period using the above scenario?

To keep the math simple, let’s assume he or she makes $1.00 off each book sold (many make more than that, but we’ll be conservative). So if they put out ten novels in ten years, and they improve their skills and develop a following over that ten year period, we’ll give them a conservative progression in selling their book.

Book 1: 4 sales a year, over 10 years, earns them $40.00
Book 2: 8 sales a year, over 9 years, earns them $72.00
Book 3: 12 sales a year, over 8 years, earns them $96.00
Book 4: 24 sales a year, over 7 years, earns them $168.00
Book 5: 60 sales a year, over 6 years, earns them $360.00
Book 6: 120 sales a year, over 5 years, earns them $600.00
Book 7: 240 sales a year, over 4 years, earns them $960.00
Book 8: 712 sales a yer, over 3 years, earns them $2136.00
Book 9: 1424 sales a year, over 2 years, earns them $2848.00
Book 10: 2136 sales in a year, for one year, earns them $2136.00

Added up, in ten years, the self-published author has earned, based on a conservative increase in sales over that period (last book only sales 2136 copies that year) as they tell a better story, get noticed, and a following has developed by then, that author has made in the same period $9416.00. Almost twice as much as the 5K advance we generously gave the first author for the first book.

Now, there are a lot of factors for both authors here. I was being generous with the first author and conservative with the second to show (not predict) that “success” by either route may take as long for either author, but the success for the self-published author isn’t focused on the success of one book, but the overall writing. And even in a conservative look, can be just as profitable, if not more so.

If someone doesn’t learn and develop the skills on either path, they will either not get published, or their online offerings will sit in obscurity, barely getting noticed by anyone. The only advantage for the self-published author is at least their story will potentially earn a bit of extra spending money, more than the manuscript that sits in a desk drawer. But on either route, it requires persistence and being willing to learn and improve to make it. Rejection by the readers is just as hard as rejection by an agent or editor. Getting published doesn’t make one successful. Getting read does.

Those self-published writers who are impatient and haven’t learned the craft will not make it, because they will get easily frustrated with the low sales numbers one’s first novels will tend to generate. They aren’t patient enough to keep plugging away, keep writing, keep learning, until they write stories people want to read, and are well crafted.

IOW, I don’t see much difference between the first year novelist who gets rejected by readers, or gets rejected by agents and editors. Both have a lot to learn, and the chances of the self-published author “ruining his or her career” because of a bad novel I don’t buy. That would only happen if the bad novel became widely read. And that will happen either because it is good, or so bad it gets held up as an example of bad writing. Which happens to a few, but most just sit in obscurity, never to be discovered except by a small handful of people. And I would suggest there is just as much, if not more risk, to traditional publishing destroying your career. From horrible covers, bad editing, or contract clauses that lock the author down to not being able to publish much, to bad marketing, that can wreck careers just as easily.

I applaud your friend for her persistence, and congratulate her for getting it published. I hope she does well with it. But I think comparing the success of one book to the success of one author is where this breaks down. An author’s success covers a career, writing several books, both over ten or whatever years it takes. I don’t see the indie route any easier or less successful than the traditional route. But I do like having the options as an author on which way I want to go.

Merrie Destefano March 12, 2012 at 11:22 AM

You are all assuming that she could have self-published this book ten years ago. But self-publishing, specifically digital self-publishing, is relatively new. That option wasn’t on the table back then. Even POD publishing wasn’t a viable option then. Costs were so high that you wouldn’t make a profit. I know because I also had a book written 10 years ago that didn’t sell to a publisher. And I knew a lot about publishing since I was a graphic designer back then and worked for a variety of publishing companies.

I honestly think Jessica made the right choice because it was her choice to make. The decisions we make today for our own individual work are based on today’s technology and our own preference.

I believe, like Mike, that almost every author will benefit from doing a self-published novella or collection of short stories from time to time. Just check out how many novellas James Scott Bell has out on Amazon right now. Almost every traditionally published author I know is also self-pubbing novellas. This is not an either or situation. Today authors can do both.

However, I do not agree that you can build a career and a readership by starting with poor quality work. Readers do not forget a poorly written book and will avoid later books by the same author. You must begin your career with your best work if you hope to succeed.

R. L. Copple March 12, 2012 at 12:08 PM

I’m not assuming anything about what she should have done. I was talking about a new author, right now, starting out, and what they could potentially do in ten years based on what we know now. Of course, anything could change those parameters into the future. But I never said what she should have done, so what you said didn’t apply to what I was talking about.

And a bad book put out in the first year or two of a new author learning the ropes won’t affect an author. Maybe the handful of readers who buy and read that book won’t look at your stuff any longer, but there are hundreds of thousands of readers out there. Bad books will tend not to be read. And when they become popular, do you think a reader will remember ten years later that they looked at a sample from author X and saw it was bad, and vowed never to buy that author’s stuff? Most will have forgotten by then, and very few would even have seen or heard of the book. And even if such a book became well distributed as an example of a bad book, the author simply uses a new by-line. That’s the same process an author has always used to reboot when a publisher destroyed their career. A bad first or second book won’t ruin someone’s career.

Naturally, I would encourage a new author to make that first book their best it can be. Get the editing and reviews to weed out the typos and grammar, plot holes and such. But I think most of us have first novels that rarely ever see the light of day. I have one too. I’ve started a complete rewrite of it, because I think the story is still good, but that first version I wrote six years ago hasn’t seen the light of day other than family and a few friends. I consider that one practice more than anything. But I could put it out as it was. It was a good story overall. Just not written very well, pov all over the place, etc. Lots of first time writer mistakes. But everyone that did read it enjoyed the story. Given things like Dan Brown’s book, it may have been bad enough to be a best seller! 😉

But I would suggest that putting out a bad first novel won’t risk hurting a career anymore than several things in traditional publishing could.

Katherine Coble March 12, 2012 at 1:35 PM

I guess I’m struggling with the disconnect between the assumptions of the title and the body of the post.

The title says “here’s why YOU should wait before self-publishing YOUR NOVEL” and then the story progresses to tell of one author who waited to sell her novel to Tyndale house. (Tyndale who is now owned by a larger publisher and 10 years ago didn’t have the same acquisitions budget it has now; doubtless that played a role in her selection.)

We can definitely learn from others’ progress but to assume that because this one woman and these three books waited 10 years we automatically should too…that’s faulty logic. It’s also faulty logic to assume that because many self-published novels are garbage (and they ARE) that every self-published novel is garbage.

I find it deeply ironically amusing that this blog has conversants who spend hundreds of manhours decrying the lack of representation for “edgy” fiction in the CBA, the lack of representation for Christian fiction in the open marketplace and the lack of representation for Speculative Fiction everydangedwhere. It’s always because of a perceived problem in the gatekeepership. So now the answer is to make new gates? The solution to being a victim of prejudice is to indulge our own prejudices?

That’s both a little weird and a lot unChristian.

And it bugs me that we have to always turn some writer’s success into a bucket of chum that stirs the waters into frenzy. It’s a small marketplace filled with cockeyed weirdos. Best we weirdos don’t turn on each other.

Mike Duran March 12, 2012 at 1:53 PM

“…to assume that because this one woman and these three books waited 10 years we automatically should too…that’s faulty logic.”

Katherine, I’m not suggesting anybody automatically do anything. I think writers should aim high, traditional publishing is still the ideal, and patience is a waning discipline in writers.

“It’s also faulty logic to assume that because many self-published novels are garbage (and they ARE) that every self-published novel is garbage.”

I haven’t said that anywhere here.

“I find it deeply ironically amusing that this blog has conversants who spend hundreds of manhours decrying the lack of representation for “edgy” fiction in the CBA, the lack of representation for Christian fiction in the open marketplace and the lack of representation for Speculative Fiction everydangedwhere. It’s always because of a perceived problem in the gatekeepership. So now the answer is to make new gates? The solution to being a victim of prejudice is to indulge our own prejudices?”

Um, not sure what you mean. I can’t criticize gatekeepers w/out abandoning them completely? I’m glad that doesn’t work for other things (like my wife!).

“…it bugs me that we have to always turn some writer’s success into a bucket of chum that stirs the waters into frenzy.”

Really, I thought this was a pretty generic post. *hurt feelings*

Awkward exit…

Patrick Todoroff March 12, 2012 at 2:21 PM

Mike, no slag but it sure looks, feels, and sounds like the title and body of the post are constructed on exactly those assumptions.

If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck….

Mike Duran March 12, 2012 at 2:29 PM

Hey, my title did what it was supposed to do. But I’m not sure how someone could read the actual post and assume I’m slamming self-publishing. Heck — I’ve self-published! I’ve made an assertion that I’ll stick by: Traditional publishing is the ideal.

Liliy March 12, 2012 at 3:17 PM

You opened a can of worms about a heated subject–it’s not completely clear in the above post that you support both, so they stick you on the “Traditional Side” and thus are thrown into the pot of what “That Side” as a whole is saying–whether its in the above post or not. Most of the comments have delved into “Traditional” vs “Self-Pub” land regardless of the above, in other words. XD

^^; Sad, but probably accurate.

Patrick Todoroff March 12, 2012 at 3:50 PM

I know you self-published, Mike. I recall our email exchange. And that’s why I’m surprised at his post.

I agree in part: your title certainly did something.

Katherine Coble March 12, 2012 at 5:04 PM

What exactly was the title supposed to do? Act as an agent provacatuer?

I am the queen of titles; yes, they are supposed to pull in your audience and engage them. But they AREN’T supposed to say one thing to stir up controversy while letting the contents of the post stand in contrast.

By slapping that particular title on there you
A) made a direct statement about the career choice of every author
B) turned your friend’s happy and innocuous announcement into a case example for the argument you advanced in the title.
C) Fed into the traditional assumption that published=better/mainstream publishing=best.

Ane Mulligan March 12, 2012 at 8:04 AM

Most – and that’s a huge qualifier – self-published writers don’t do enough editing or have critique partners who are tough on them. Therefore, the quality of the fiction isn’t up to the standards that traditional publishing presents. I know. I’ve seen way too many that read like a newbie writer. For some, too, it’s merely to have their name on a book.

For the committed storyteller, it can be a long wait. It was for Jessica and it is for me. Ultimately, God is in control, and for me, He keeps saying not yet. I’m satisfied to wait.

Nikole Hahn March 12, 2012 at 8:32 AM

So true, Ane!

J.W. Bouchard March 12, 2012 at 7:12 PM

Ane: But what if your time never comes? All I’m asking is would it be better to wait to be accepted by a traditional publisher and never get anywhere, or to self-publish, and see what happens? I agree with what R.L. said above – put out a book a year, build an audience, keep getting better, and keep putting more stuff out there. Say over 9 years you wrote 9 novels, all of them self-published (and maybe only in digital). Nothing much happens. A few sales. Then you self-pub your 10th novel, and, miraculously, it connects with people. You do really well. There’s a good chance they’re going to try out your other 9 novels. In contrast, you could still be waiting for someone else to publish that first novel.

I’ll be the first to admit that I was in impatient starting out. I rushed someone just to get it out there. But I learned quickly. Now I tap the brakes a bit. And I’ve gotten sales.

Don’t get me wrong, this is just my opinion, and I respect your decision. I decided to go a different way.

Brenda Anderson March 12, 2012 at 8:21 AM

Thanks for sharing this, Mike. It’s an inspiration to keep pressing on.

Nikole Hahn March 12, 2012 at 8:26 AM

In my twenties, I was impatient and convinced that I was the greatest writer. I was a glory seeker, not a story teller striving for my dream. If self-publishing was so prevalent then as it is now giving authors a chance to show their work rather than wait, I would have probably killed my writing career. Reputations are made very quickly and bad reputations are hard to fight. Now in my late thirties, I am so grateful that I free presses gave me the chance for short articles, but that I never got a book published. I hadn’t really found my voice until about three years ago. Growing in the waiting I think is even biblical. Blogs and websites enable us to give our stories and our writing away to people who need to hear it. Why the hurry to publish? Why not pursue traditional? It’s not really affirmation to my way of thinking, but knowing your writing will get the market and attention it needs to create a great novel that rises above the other voices or makes your voice distinct.

I think self is a good way if you only intend to reach a smaller audience, say like a bible study or something, but if you want a career I believe waiting is the right way. I believe when we pray for things–anything–we have to wait and in the waiting God grows us and He’ll grow our writing. I have reviewed self-pub and traditional. I know friends who write well who have self-published. That was their personal decision.

The ones that I don’t care for are the impatient ones who carry a prideful attitude about self-pub, wearing the label as if they are the little guys fighting the big guys, and who reject any sound advice regarding their marketing or their writing from people experienced in the field. I agree with you, Mike, impatience is a writer’s weak point. It can race ahead of God’s will for us and some of us who shouldn’t publish do when there’s still so much to learn in order to enrich our words.

John Patterson March 12, 2012 at 10:02 AM

Very good points, Nikole. Thank you for sharing them.

I find the biggest reason for me to traditionally publish is because writing, no matter how it gets to the reader, is a great way to “die to self,” whether you want to or not. Ideally, writing is going to be reader-focused, even in a time when promotion and marketing are swallowing up more and more of the writer’s time and career. That makes it all the more important to satisfy readers. For me, it’s about *earning* a fanbase, about getting the best possible book into a reader’s hands, and making sure that the story is worth their while (I’ve talked a bit about this on my blog). Traditional publishing gives you more chances to do that. Self-publishers can hire editors and copyeditors, but they are still the supervisor who gets to accept or reject their counsel. Of course, in traditional houses you are taking a risk in time and effort. As far as I’m concerned, it’s worth the risk. Just as long as my books are the best they can possibly be, I’ll wait as long as it takes.

Nikole Hahn March 12, 2012 at 12:15 PM

Amen, John.

xdpaul March 12, 2012 at 8:34 AM

Disagree completely: 10 years is a massive disservice to her readers, and it is the publisher’s fault. Most readers who like an author go insane waiting for the next book, and could care less if there are some typos in it – In fact, have you seen the typos and editing in Twilight? It’s as if they worked to make it error-prone! Amanda Hocking did a better job with her stuff than Meyer (editing wise), without the benefit of “professionals.”

You know whose book I’ve been waiting for? Tosca Lee’s Iscariot. For years. It’s done. If it is anything like what she’s done before, it is also perfect – it’s been edited. It’s ready.

But it isn’t available. Why? Because it is fermenting? Perfecting? Ripening? Rising?

No. Because the system doesn’t work efficiently for the benefit of readers. We want our books, we want them yesterday, and we want to be behind in our reading, not ahead, of our favorite authors.

We want to give you money, today, but you’ve got nothing to exchange for it if you are in publishing jail!

3 of the best 5 books I’ve read in the last three months were self-published. One of the two that was traditionally published is not currently in print! The only one of the five that is in print and traditionally published is the worst formatted ebook of them all!

So – while it is great for Dotta to have her book available, it isn’t because of traditional publishing that it is great, but in spite of its inefficiencies.

Mike Duran March 12, 2012 at 9:19 AM

Dan, your comment is more of a critique of traditional publishing rather than a defense or apologetic for self-publishing. I agree about Tosca Lee and suspect that her subject matter (Judas Iscariot) is what’s giving Christian publishers a conniption. Still, even if she chose to self-publish the book (which I seriously doubt she will), she has the existing platform to probably make it a success. That’s not a luxury most writers have. Even if “3 of the best 5 books [you’ve] read in the last three months were self-published,” I’m guessing you were made aware of the books largely as a part of the author’s platform, money, and hard work. Again, I haven’t inferred anything about self-published works being inferior. I just don’t think that stigma is holding up anymore. If your argument is that traditional publishing is way to slow, I’m with you. But I don’t think that alone is a great justification for self-publishing. Hey, thanks for commenting!

Liliy March 12, 2012 at 9:29 AM

But it is a defense for self-publishing–traditional publishing has major problems (in this case: their inability to release books in a timely manner). If a system doesn’t work, and won’t listen to change or reason–you dump it and move onto the competition that works. Plain and simple.

Self-Publishing is giving options that traditional publishing won’t and people are taking advantage.

(On an unrelated note, I think my previous post was caught up in your spam filter for having links…apologies!)

Mike Duran March 12, 2012 at 9:42 AM

I approved your previous comments, Liliy. It was spammed, probably for links. I’ll comment up there.

Jessica Thomas March 12, 2012 at 9:27 AM

Very interesting counterpoints.

I don’t know any stats on literacy, but I think it’s safe to say the number of people in this world who can read is growing exponentially. It follows, then, that the number of people capable of producing a publishable novel is also increasing. Are the traditional publishers expanding and widening their scope as a result, or are they simply saying, “There’s more competition now than ever.” ? If it’s true that there are more capable writers + less opportunities, then we have to consider the distinct possibility that we are being bad stewards if we continue to wait.

Others have spoken here of God’s will for us to wait and be patient, but God’s will, at times, is also for us to *stop* waiting. It does no one any good for a good piece of fiction to be collecting dust in someone’s drawer. While we Christian writers often have dreams of reaching the lost in thousands, maybe there is just one lost person who needs to read that dusty manuscript. And that one person is worth it.

So, what to do? Weigh the options, pray, do what seems best for the particular project at hand. No easy answers, but we are definitely lucky to be in the midst of this electronic revolution.

Merrie Destefano March 12, 2012 at 11:30 AM

Another thing everyone is forgetting is the fact that what is popular right now probably wasn’t popular five or ten years ago. Again, I know this because the book I wrote ten years ago was a historical and it was during a time when that genre was unpopular. So if you put out the right book at the wrong time, it will NOT sell. Twilight was the right book at the right time. The same with Amanda Hocking’s books. It’s next to impossible to create success on your own. Hence, the need for publishing professionals (like editors and agents) to guide you.

Liliy March 12, 2012 at 12:47 PM

On the flip-side–with digital & POD: Books never have to go out of print. When a particular genre becomes popular–people will search for books on the subject–both old and new–and BAM! Yours is out there and ready for them. It might not sell now, but it could years later–we don’t know. But it’ll never sell if it doesn’t get printed in the first place.

xdpaul March 12, 2012 at 1:04 PM

But that’s still an argument for publishing fast (self) not slow (traditional)…

If Book A) fails to sell, the self-publisher can get Book B) out (and C and D and E) while, in the traditional house, they scrutinize the failure of A), effectively blocking or delaying B) and C) and D) and E).

From a reader’s perspective, I would much rather be able to find a book than find out that a book that I’ve been waiting for ten years to read is finally slated to be out…next year.

Your author’s platform does me, as a reader, no good, if all it tells me is that your next book, which you have effectively finished, can’t be in my hands right now.

Max Brand is still publishing new material, and he died in World War II. That’s how slow traditional publishing is. One great book after ten years is wonderful. Nine more would have been possible, but also much better, for both the reader and the writer.

xdpaul March 12, 2012 at 1:05 PM

Oops. That was a reply to Merrie. I agree with Liliy.

Mike Duran March 12, 2012 at 1:20 PM

XD, so should films and music work the same way. You know, I want that new Coldplay CD in my hands right now. Is it wrong that I have to wait. Or, I want to see that new Spielberg movie right now. Is it wrong that I have to wait? Arn’t the technological possibilities (self-publishing, POD, etc.) kinda jading us?

xdpaul March 14, 2012 at 7:59 AM

Yep. They should. The great advantage book writers have is that the writing is the finished product, not the starting point, unlike songs, movies and video games. Books should be the most quickly produced written entertainment in the world – it is their native advantage.

Merrie Destefano March 12, 2012 at 3:31 PM

Anticipation is a big part of the marketing game. If an author I love has a book coming out in a year, I am anxious for the book, but willing to wait. However, publicists and authors are usually careful not to give away too much info until the book is close to pub date. Everything is planned to create desire. Book blog tours, book trailers, author’s public events. Even if you self publish, you should spend months preparing the public for the book.

BTW, traditional publishers can get books out faster if the topic is hot. But in general, the one year time spam is well spent in promoting the book launch AND writing the next book.

You might get a few sales that way. But in general, you’ll get more sales by working hard to promote a new product. Readers, and buyers in general, love things that are new and hot. That third person omniscient POV book written five years ago may not stand up well against a current writing style, like first person present POV. You’re assuming people are going to look for and find an old book. I just don’t think it’s going to happen very often. I have friends who have written books on topics that are now hot. Despite their efforts, they still can’t get their sales up higher.

Liliy March 12, 2012 at 6:09 PM

Or they’re like me and are hungry for that third person omniscient. First Person books drive me crazy–I close samples almost immediately after seeing its in first person save for the few exceptions where I promised someone I’d read it, or the subject matter was enough to outweigh it. Either way, I find first person an agonizing chore to read. Every time I see the ‘rule’ to stay in One POV I roll my eyes and die a little inside (I exaggerate here, but not that much).

Tastes vary, would be the key here. I know that there are those looking for old-style, or older books because I’m one of them. One of the best things about this new medium is the reprinting of older books–the back issues. It gives us choice instead of restricting the readers to ‘What’s Hot’ right now.

xdpaul March 14, 2012 at 8:06 AM

But marketing isn’t a game for writers – it is a business. It doesn’t make sense to get the great marketing advantage of forcing your reader to wait for the benefit of paying you money.

It costs you and Mike and other writers money, every day that your finished product is not available. Now, the good news is that your book will be available for the course of your life, and your estate will still be able to make money off that book for 70 years after you die, so maybe the one-year, two-year delay really doesn’t mean that much to your bottom line, but from the reader’s perspective, there’s no benefit to me to be well-marketed but unsatisfied with a vapor book instead of the real thing.

Maybe you’ve got a huge batch of readers who prefer the wait and anticipation: well, I say, satisfy them without denying the readers who don’t care about waiting at all: give the “waiters” a special access book club where they wait for a special edition of the book or something – something done once a year.

That way you can give the rest of us regular readers what they demand who currently, in the meantime of waiting for your next book, are spending your potential income on other people’s books.

Marcia March 12, 2012 at 8:45 AM

I have to totally agree with Ane’s first paragraph.

Even among the people out there who realize they can’t just write something and slap it up on Kindle, the ones who have paid attention to craft, have taken classes, have been critiqued, have “done it right,” and are willing to promote, there is still a huge quality gap between their offerings and those put out by a traditional house. I have yet to NOT be disappointed in a self-published novel I’ve tried to read. One that I recently downloaded disappointed me particularly badly with its plethora of errors and very so-so writing. Based on all other evidence, I thought this gal was one who very probably would be publishing a good book. I was wrong. It will be a long time before I spend any money on a self-published book.

Most — again, the qualifier, though personally I’ve yet to find the exception — writers who are getting rejected by agents and traditional publishers are getting rejected for a reason. Their book is not ready to be published. This can include already-published writers who don’t care to face that their next work isn’t up to snuff. Many writers who work hard for as long as it takes — yes, ten years is the length of time I so often hear mentioned, though for me it was twelve — look back on work that was rejected during their apprenticeship and give thanks that it never saw the light of day. Unfortunately, those who rush to publish these days, mostly because they can, will not experience that blessing.

Which is to say, self-publishing CAN become a form of running ahead of God.

Kessie March 12, 2012 at 9:02 AM

You know how people say to take your first book, burn it, and write another with the lessons you learned from the first book? Yeah, I can’t even face trying to traditionally publish my first one. I think I’ll offer it for free on Smashwords (it does have a lot of background information on the story series) and traditionally publish the other books (which are hugely better). I can’t stand the humiliation of making people pay for my rookie blather.

Adam Pepper March 12, 2012 at 10:02 AM

I think there are some faulty assumptions here, most notably that a self published book has less of a chance of receiving attention from the industry than a book in slush. If anything, it’s equal. At worst, it has no bearing whatsoever and at best a successful self published book can draw attention from traditional publishers if that’s where your aspirations lie. It’s no longer a badge of courage to be patient, in my view. Which is a better use of ten years? Sitting passively in slush piles or actively building an audience?

Mike Duran March 12, 2012 at 10:17 AM

Thanks for commenting, Adam. Self-publishing your novel is definitely better than sitting in slush. That’s for sure. But you’d have to make an argument that the average writer is better off bypassing the traditional outlets altogether and going straight to self-publishing. Or are you suggesting that if you had a choice between publishers, you’d pass on a traditional publisher?

Adam Pepper March 12, 2012 at 10:31 AM

I’m not arguing bypassing traditional publishers, although I could make that argument. I’m simply saying that in the current marketplace nothing is gained by patience (assuming the book truly is professional quality). If you truly believe a good story cannot remain unnoticed then don’t you trust the general population of readers to spot this?

None of this diminishes Jessica’s accomplishment. She clearly worked hard and realized her dream.

Mike Duran March 12, 2012 at 12:55 PM

“If you truly believe a good story cannot remain unnoticed then don’t you trust the general population of readers to spot this?”

Yeah, I agree with that. But, once again, it’s a matter of how to get my good story in their hands.

Merrie Destefano March 12, 2012 at 11:01 AM

Yay! Big congrats, Jessica!! Like you, it took me a long time to get my first novel published. I learned so much about writing and publishing along the way that I became the editor of a national magazine. So all those years spent learning the craft and learning the business gave me a new career. Again, congrats, Jessica!! Your book sounds amazing.

Katherine Coble March 12, 2012 at 12:25 PM

Well, I do say Congratulations to your friend. She had a goal and she accomplished it and that’s worthy of some laudation.

Why that should transfer to other people’s paths eludes me, however. As others have said, her journey and her waiting can’t be directly compared to someone else’s.

I have one book that is waiting for traditional publishers. I have other books which may not. It depends on what happens.

TC Avey March 12, 2012 at 12:31 PM

Inspiring- thank you!

While I hope it doesn’t take ten years, yeah I’m willing to wait. After all, I’m waiting on God’s timing, not my own.

Bryan Thomas Schmidt March 12, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Patience is definitely hard these days in our culture of instant gratification. All the more so for passionate artists. With often the resources at our finger tips to get our work out there, and so much rejection, it’s hard to wait. I have to say I am glad I did. The recognition and respect I’ve gotten as a result are well worth it as well as the greater opportunities. Lack of patience is one reason so much stigma surrounds self-publishing. People who didn’t wait and should have published crap or didn’t get good editing. It hurts all of us. I think there’s nothing wrong with encouraging people to wait. But I’m not against self-publishing. I have self-published two things, both of which were heavily edited by professionals first. I do think regardless of self or traditional publishing, you must act like a professional to earn the credibility of one. If you rush your story out there without proper vetting of qualified people (editors, readers, etc.), you are taking a risk with your career and reputation and future as a writer.

Randy Streu March 12, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Great post, and interesting discussion.

As part of a small, traditional indie publisher, I’m possibly a little biased toward shopping one’s book instead of self-publishing. However, this is at least in part because I, like others, have seen the efforts of FAR too many self-publishing “authors.”

Frankly, the market is glutted with thousands of people who put words on page and, for some reason, think other people ought to read them. Largely, in the self-pub arena, they are mistaken. This, to me, is the MAJOR disadvantage of a new and unknown author self-publishing in the current climate. Readers simply aren’t going to drop money on a book by an author they’ve never heard of, with nothing to back up his or her “talent” but 5-star reviews that are obviously planted by friends and family. I might — MIGHT — drop a buck or two if the book seems really interesting, but mostly, unless it’s 99 cents or less, I’m not interested in taking the risk.

With a traditionally published novel, I as a reader at LEAST know the book was good enough that somebody else liked it enough to invest actual money in its release. It still might suck, or at least not be to my personal liking, but it still helps to know that it’s passed through other gatekeepers with a MUCH LARGER stake than my 5-12 bucks.

In short, you could be Steinbeck-in-waiting, but if you self-publish, you run the risk of just another name in a sea of endless garbage.

My .02 anyway.

Mike Duran March 12, 2012 at 1:09 PM

I got one! Thank you, Randy.

Patrick Todoroff March 12, 2012 at 1:57 PM

Another name in a sea of endless garbage?


Here we go again: a writer and their work is automatically judged inferior because of where that work meets the marketplace and audience. Flaccid logic at best. I’ve read plenty of tripe that’s slipped through the traditional gates.

It’s a shame this woman’s determination and success is being used as an occasion to flip off indie writers.

Randy Streu March 12, 2012 at 2:25 PM

Nobody’s flipping off anybody, and if you’ll notice, I DID, in fact, say in essence that tripe has slipped through the gatekeepers.

Nowhere did I judge a writer’s work as inferior simply because it is self-published. At best yours is a strawman argument, because it attacks a perspective that was simply never given.

What I said was, *ahem* “you could be Steinbeck-in-waiting” [read, you could be an excellent author with a potential classic on your hands — not particularly negatively judgmental of quality, if I may point that out] “but if you self-pub, you RUN THE RISK of [being](oops… forgot to type that last time) just another name in a sea of endless garbage.

What you have NOT done is show that I’m wrong in that viewpoint. Is there NOT a glut of mindless crap being self-pubbed on Amazon? Is it NOT, in fact, more likely to find a banal, boring, badly edited piece of junk among the self-pubbed stacks than among the traditional? I’m not even talking about taste here, but in terms of actual quality.

This isn’t a judgement on everyone who chooses to self-pub, and honestly, I think it’s a HUGE stretch to glean that opinion from what I wrote, requiring that the reader ignore everything but the few words you quoted, and pulling them from the benefit of context.

Nowhere did I say that self-publishing is a sign of bad quality, as you accuse me of doing. Rather, I’m merely pointing out that plenty of GOOD work can easily lost among the tripe that already exists.

Patrick Todoroff March 13, 2012 at 6:09 AM

My response wasn’t directed exclusively at you, Randy. More of a reaction to the ongoing conversation and the apparent dissonance between the title and the body of the story, as well as the underlying assumptions contained here. Katherine Coble has addressed some of this specifically, elsewhere in this thread.

I’m not burdened with having to disprove any of your assertions. In fact, I agree with some of them.

Where I took issue is the fallacy that a writer’s work is intrinsically inferior simply because of where it meets the marketplace and audience; that authors who self-publish do so because they are rash and impatient; and that self-published work is somehow less valid that that which is traditionally published. All assumptions this post and its title seem to be constructed on.

I mentioned on my own blog that I could be misreading things. It’s entirely possible. However, this post with its title appears to take the occasion to turn one person’s perseverance and success into a blanket statement directed at indie writers and their work.

It would be equally wrong for me to use a single piece of saccharine, contrived trope as an example of all traditionally published Christian fiction and make it a justification for the Indie option.

That said, seeing what this has morphed into, I think it best I bow out and get back to my own writing.

Good luck.

Bryan Thomas Schmidt March 17, 2012 at 9:38 AM

I so agree with you, Randy, that self-publishing has a lot of crap in it. And that means that those who discover that and get a sense of self-publishing as lesser quality will look at anything self-published with a stigma. And your brilliant work could get lost therein. I think that’s a real consideration anyone should give before self-publishing. If your work is really pro level and good enough to put before the world, do you want to get the stigma and perhaps be lost in the shuffle? Will it hurt your career? It may or may not. But if your goal is to build a career, this is a factor that needs to be taken seriously.

Dennis March 12, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Mike – I think that it depends on what your personal goal is in regard to your writing. Perhaps, not everyone cares whether or not if a well known publishing house accepts their book. Realistically, isn’t it like 1% of manuscripts that are submitted that are actually accepted? That means you are encouraging 99 out of 100 people to wait for something that is not likely to happen.

Perhaps the more limited audience that self-publishing brings is exactly what they need to focus on.

Perhaps they are not interested in becoming a professional author and/or aspire to make a living in this competitive venue. Just because their writing may not be at an A level does not mean that it is not nicely written and a needed message to some.

In some ways I would liken it to church planting. If a pastor has the backing of a large denomination that is great. Chances are they might have more advantages in beginning a church. However, if a pastor just has a small, non-denominational church that has a vision for church planting, and that is the route a pastor chooses, is it right to say that they should wait for a large denomination to put their stamp of approval on their ministry.

Or is it wrong for a musician to self-produce and release their own CD because a major recording label does not sign them on. Should their music just sit on the shelf for years because Big Brother does not think it will make THEM money?

I think we will have to agree to disagree on this one my friend.

Mike Duran March 12, 2012 at 1:15 PM

Dennis, I appreciate your comments. Having pastored, I know there’s endless debates about the best size of a church. But I haven’t met a pastor yet that doesn’t want to grow his church, see MORE members, MORE converts, MORE outreach, MORE ministry. Not sure what the ideal is, but the idea is to aim high. If your son or daughter is a talented athlete, why not challenge them with the big leagues. Sure, like writers, only 1% will make it. So what? Should they settle for Parks and Rec coordinator just because the odds are against them?

Dennis March 12, 2012 at 1:27 PM

Mike – Since only 10% of churches are 350 participants or more (according to studies done by the Hartford Institute) I would encourage my son or daughter to be realistic with their dreams and goals in life. Aim high, for sure, but to aim high you must also be realistic with what you are able to achieve. Even Jesus talked about bearing fruit, some 30, some 60, some 100 fold. The 100 fold folks are few and far between.

According to your logic, a person should just wait until a 1,000 member church hires them as their Lead Pastor. Just wait, keep serving in the 100 member church you are at, keep sharpening your skills, and that 1,000 member church is going to hire you to be their leader. Just dream hard enough and aim high enough and it will happen.

NOT… you are just setting your children up for heartbreak. If they are not good enough to sing for American Idol, tell them so.

Mike Duran March 12, 2012 at 1:59 PM

Well… the church / writing analogy breaks down here, I’m afraid. They’re just two different animals. I definitely believe in being realistic. (Never told my kids to aspire to the Presidency. Thank God!) But I’d also encourage any artist, writer, filmmaker, or musician to aim high. In the writing field, I believe mainstream publishing is still the goal. Thanks for writing Pastor Dennis!

S.E. Gordon March 12, 2012 at 2:16 PM

Would I be willing to wait 10 years? HELL NO!

Pardon me for my choice of language, but the thought of giving up 10 years of royalties strikes me as totally insane. As for me, I’m a relatively new author who published his first work last October. Last month I made over $6,000 in royalties. You read that correctly; a six with three zeroes following it, i.e., enough to live on. I’ll admit my success is not typical, and my tactics defy convention, but I’ve found success by being open-minded and opportunistic.

It pains me to hear how people want to “feel” like an author, rather than just “being” an author. Publish the damn thing and move on. Who says that a self-published work can’t have good editing? It’s all what you put into it.

And I’m in total agreement with the gentleman above. You get better at your craft the more you do it. Who would you rather be? Thomas Harris or Nora Roberts? I’d take the latter, but I’m wired like that.

Honestly, you have no idea how much you’re giving up (rights, royalties…sanity) by going the traditional route. Buy hey, if it’s your dream, go for it; I’ll try to look the other way.

Me? I’ve seen first hand what it’s like to be dumped by your publisher (my mother is a traditionally published writer who recently began releasing her backlist), or told that your story wouldn’t work because the market isn’t there.

No gracias. Indie all the way!

Mike Duran March 12, 2012 at 2:24 PM

Ha! Thanks, S.E. Especially the part about admitting your success “is not typical.”

Aric Mitchell March 12, 2012 at 2:29 PM

I greatly admire the respect with which you’ve handled your self-pub vs. trad-pub arguments, Mike. It’s nice to hear an alternative viewpoint that doesn’t sound like a traditionally published author’s self-love fest.

I disagree with mainstream publishing as the way to go, and think self-pub is a lot more viable than many are giving it credit for. But if you’re going to make it, you can’t fall into the trap of thinking it’s “the easy way out.”

Still have to edit. Still have to produce top-notch cover art. Still have to have the kind of formatting where people can’t tell the difference between your novel and a regular book.

Self-pub requires just as much patience, if not more, than the traditional route. The difference is that it is empowering to know you’re running a business and not simply buying a lottery ticket. I think authors in both camps, and those straddling the fence like yourself, require all the patience in the world to be successful at what they do.

You’re right about this part, though:

There are a tremendous amount of self-pubbers, who just don’t get it, and they do enter into things with that lack of patience you describe, rather than a business plan. The trad-pubbers, who lack patience, just give up altogether. Self-pubbers without it, make fools of themselves for all the world to see.

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