I love bloggers. Proper ones, I mean, who post reviews, information, thoughts, ideas, plans and daydreams every day for the rest of us to ingest, share and marvel at. (And no, I definitely don't count myself as a 'proper' blogger.)
It's a fact of life that once we state an opinion, there will likely be a few folks around who agree with us and a few thousand who don't - it's human nature and heartily satisfying as far as I'm concerned; wouldn't the world be boring if we all agreed all of the time?
Since writing is my thing, I tend to be attracted to blogs and bloggers who have something to say about books, writing, self-publishing, traditional publishing, agents, bookshelves, the poor quality of biros these days etc. etc. etc. It hasn't escaped my notice (!) that from time to time these fabulous folk and their commenters fall out about the differences between Trad and self publishing. There are strong advocators for each and lots of angry comments fly back and forth about the merits of one, the attitudes of people engaged in the other, which is better, which sucks and so on and so forth.
Most of the time when I read these, I end up feeling slightly nauseated. And then I get to wondering if there's something wrong with me since I'm not out there fighting in either corner.
I spent most of my writing life dreaming of the day when my bubbly, enthusiastic agent would phone to tell me that a publisher had bought my book and I was going to be 'published'. Ah, the joy that would fill my heart, the excitement that would shine in my dull grey eyes, the flush that would decorate my cheeks...yeah, you get the idea.
And instead I ended up with a large stack of very kind rejection letters.
Now, according to some camps in the blogger-verse, I should have continued down this route and ignored the temptation of self-publishing. In taking the self-pubbed route I was being 'lazy'.
Maybe they're right but I don't feel 'lazy' - I write the best story that I can, have it edited as well as I can afford, pay for a designer to provide me with a good cover and set up the interior of my books for printing, attempt (usually unsuccessfully!) to market myself, create workshops and visit schools to encourage children to give creative writing a go and, above all else, I keep writing. Yes, I've made mistakes and embarrassed myself several thousand times but I was always told that making mistakes is how you learn, getting it wrong once or twice has certainly shown me all my flaws and reminded me to take more care!
I don't feel angry when I hear a traditionally published author complain about self-publishing and I don't feel overjoyed when I hear self-published authors lambaste traditional publishing. I truly believe that there's a place for both and there will always be a friction between the two but that's okay - like I said, wouldn't it be boring if we were all the same?
The only time I twitch a little is when someone from the 'Trad' point of view complains that self-publishing needs 'gatekeepers' (arguing that in traditional publishing, the agents provide this role, weeding out the unsuitable, incapable and downright crap). I find this very confusing. Self-publishing already has such a thing - they're called 'readers' and they provide the same function for the self-published writer as for the traditionally published - a vast, able and mighty ability to discover good books and champion the best of them. If they download or purchase a book that they don't like then the chances are a) they'll tell their friends not to touch it with a barge pole and b) they'll avoid other books that the author puts out afterwards.
So, am I lazy in taking the self-published route? Well, obviously I hope not but I can understand why a traditionally published author might view me in that way. Maybe I should have kept sending out the enquiry letters instead of jumping in with both feet by myself; I wanted someone to read my stories and get enjoyment from them. That's it. And am I wrong in believing that there's a place in the wonderful world of books for all kinds of publishing? Fingers crossed.