Thursday, 2 October 2008

The Great YWO POD Debate

Well, it's raged on all week. Nothing seems to polarise the writing community like self-publishing. But here's a poser:

This is a fictional scenario but it could describe many wannabes (including me!).

Supposing Jill has been writing for twenty years. She has done a couple of writing courses, read loads of books on the subject, had a few articles and short stories published over the years. But for the last five years she's devoted all her spare time and energy to getting her novel published.

She's tried everything. Writers' groups, peer review sites, endless redrafts and editing. She has sought advice from any and all published authors she encounters. And she has sent her sample chapters to every publisher and agent in the WAYB, and even the dodgy ones (well, you get desperate eventually). But all she has to show for it is a heap of rejection letters.

One morning she wakes up and looks in the mirror and thinks "I can't go on with this any more." She promised herself many years ago that one day she would see her name on the cover of a paperback and she's damn well going to make it happen. She picks up the flier that fell out of her latest writers' journal and dials the number of a self-publishing company.

The question is, can you blame her?

I've heard a lot of argument for and against self publishing this week, and I've found it very helpful in showing me the lie of this alien publishing land. But faced with the desperation of someone who just can't get a publishing deal, how can anyone condemn it?


Tracy said...

I'd never condemn, I think each to their own. People must do what they feel is right for them and them alone.
Personally, I'd never follow that route but I'm still new at this game.

I think the main thing is that people enter into these things with their eyes wide open and if, although the YWO deal is free, they part with any hard earned cash, realistically they must expect to lose out on their outlay.

My concerns for the YWO deal is the lack of proofreading or any kind of professional editing. You hear far too many stories of badly produced books and does this really act as a quality calling card for your work? I fear not.

Sandra Patterson said...

I agree, Tracy. This is pretty much the reason I've decided to pass on it.

Jane Smith said...

I couldn't condemn anyone for feeling the way you describe: but I'd still tell them that in my view they'd be better off self-publishing using one of the many POD services available than by going through this YWO scheme. For many reasons, most of which I've blogged about in some detail.

You might want to read Janet Reid's blog post, "The Two Parts of Brave", which I've linked to from my blog. It describes the writers' struggle so very beautifully.

Sandra Patterson said...

Thanks for that, Jane.