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The Stigma of Self-Publishing, Is it Justified?

Updated on July 25, 2013

There is a stigma associated with the term self-publish but it is one which should not exist. Some individuals may not agree but self-published work is no different than traditional published work. Both involve efforts by individuals who create books, articles, blogs etc. They should be evaluated based on the quality of the content and the message, if any, contained within the work.

Why does this stigma exist and has existed I believe started as the Internet became a viable means/opportunity to get our voices heard and reach those who may have the same ideas and perceptions. The opportunity to get published today is much greater than in the past. Before the Internet we only had traditional publishers as a means to become a writer/author and their resources were limited and still are today. Technology has changed the way all publishers operate today with the concept of Print on Demand. Why are those who use this technology to be self-published looked upon with fewer acceptances than those who have traditionally published material, the answer is simple.

Traditional publishers have had their way with what gets published and today the impact of self-publishing has lessened that impact. Traditional publishers are recognized as recognition of the content and quality of the material which they accept for publication. This fact is undeniable given the situation that their resources are limited and they must choose the manuscripts which they feel represent a viable profit for their organization. There are many fine and reputable traditional publishers who produce quality publications but just because a book or even an eBook is not traditionally published does not mean it is of lesser quality.

The media or at least some of them do not give the exposure to self-published books/eBooks that they would if they were traditionally published. The media has an impact on what books get the exposure but they should be judged on the quality of the content not how they are published. I have no problem with the media in how they cover published books/authors for this is the way it has been for decades. It needs to change and is changing with the technology of today. Statistics have shown that eBooks outsold print books in recent years, which is a result of the public accepting electronically published material.

It is the public who determines which books sell not the publisher. It does not matter if you are traditionally published or self-published. Granted name recognition does have an impact but the ultimate decision is made by the buying public. Negative exposure of an author in the media did not negatively impact the sale of the recent book by Paula Dean as book sales saw a dramatic increase when the negative exposure started. This is an example of the buying public making the decision on what books sell not the media.

Traditionally published books and self-published books are going to have examples where the quality and content is less than expected. It happens. The quality of the content is controlled by the author of self-published material while the quality and content may be altered by a traditional publisher. This may or may not be true of all publishers but one thing for sure self-published authors have total control of the content they produce while this characteristic may not necessarily be part of the traditional process.

The buying public with less money to spend in this economy is making choices on which books they purchase and they are saying it loudly by purchasing electronically published books more than print books. Traditional publishers and the media need to wake up to the fact that self-published books are not going away and they need to get in tune with the buying public and recognize quality books regardless of how they are published.

One last point to make involves the fact there are several contests/awards that cater to self-published authors and recognize those who deserve the recognition by awarding them top awards. It is always a good thing when an author gets recognized for his/her work whether it is through book review/contests, the media or the public. Each of us wants to be recognized for the efforts we put into our writing and the amount of self-published opportunities available today are endless. The opportunities available for self-published authors/writers are endless within the technology of today. Examples of these opportunities are such things as writing articles which are rated, books and blogs to name a few. It is hoped this article will open some eyes to the quality effort of many self-published authors who put much time in developing their work and niche. They deserve to be properly recognized for their efforts.


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    • Dennis AuBuchon profile image

      Dennis AuBuchon 4 years ago

      I agree with your comment but I also know there are bad books published traditionally tha just do not take off in the sales department. It all comes down to the quality content of the book and a subject which interests book readers.

    • tamarawilhite profile image

      Tamara Wilhite 4 years ago from Fort Worth, Texas

      Dave Ramsey self-published his "Financial Peace University" books, before hitting it big. A lot of good writers started out self-published in the past 10 years, thanks to services like Amazon's Create Space. Unfortunately, the reputation of "self-published" authors goes down due to all the self-published work that looks like even the author didn't bother to read through it and do basic edits.

    • Dennis AuBuchon profile image

      Dennis AuBuchon 4 years ago


      Thanks for stopping by and providing your input and complements. The opportunities for those who want to publish their work are far greater than anytime in the past.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It's the wave of the future no doubt, Dennis. You have touched on the main points of consideration and covered them well. I have self-published in the past and I'm sure I'll be doing it again soon. I have read quite a few self-published books that were every bit as good as ones I have read that were published in the traditional manner.

    • Dennis AuBuchon profile image

      Dennis AuBuchon 4 years ago


      Thanks for stopping by and providing your comments. I agree there are some self-published books that have errors but are also many fine self-published books which I have downloaded or purchased which did not have the issues you cited. Hard work goes into any book whether it is self-published or not and they need to be recognized for the quality of the content, not ignored.

    • rfmoran profile image

      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Dennis, as a self published author of three books, I agree with you except for one thing. The difference between a self published book and a traditional is one word - Editing. I have downloaded many a self published book only to find it replete with typos and spelling errors. One recent book, which I otherwise enjoyed immensely, had a major character's name spelled differently throughout the book (is it Reid or Reed??). So hats off to the Indies of the world - Just spend a buck and get a good editor!