There’s a school of thought that self-publishing is embarrassing and opened the floodgates to a whole bunch of shoddy work that would never have seen the light of day if the gatekeepers were properly gatekeeping everything, and the unwashed and unschooled masses did not have access to this democritizing technology.
And that’s all true. Most of it. I differ at the typical smug go-to insult, which is the “embarrassing” part.
After all, there is a lot of embarrassing ficton that is published by the gatekeepers, solely on the basis of the story’s premises (are there nonbinary WOC as the protagonists? And so on–I’m not kidding here; these are the things traditional sci-fi and fantasy publishing thinks are more important than skill and story) or the identity of the author. Much of what is allowed by the gatekeepers certainly does not have artistic quality as the highest standard for allowing.
This isn’t just me bloviating here. Book sales are awful in American. Nobody reads, certainly not enough for the book industry to be expanding, which it’s not, and not contracting, which it is. But as we all know, as with most industries, particularly in entertainment, it’s not about making money. It’s about evangelizing the new secular religion, shaping minds and attitudes, and yes, propagandizing. Artistic quality as a considertion is farther down on the totem pole.
Yet in the spirit of self-reflection, I can’t help but wonder “what if that criticism is right?” What if I’m just being ridiculous and vain by self-publishing? After all, I don’t have the stamp of legitimacy from my peers, or a contract or an advance. I have some nice reviews on Amazon–generally and what some might call overwhelmingly positive–and they’re selling decently well. But I’m still a nobody in this field and any impact I’ve made has been very, very tiny.
So it’s quite quoxitic. And maybe nobody in the traditional publishing world would publish any of my novels, both because of their contnent and becasue of my identity. I am a member of an unfavored and many may say despised group and an adherent to a despised religion (despite it now being Totally Awesome again because we have the Most Catholic President Ever) writing positive sci-fi with Christian themes, so I’d never get my foot in the door no matter how good my writing is.
That’s fine. I kind of enjoy being the underdog. It keeps me hungry, and I’m not embarrassed about anything I’ve published. However, a part of me will always think about this.
You can check out some of my books here and let me know what you think: