Saturday, January 30, 2010

Self-publishing Symposium: Darryl Sloan

How does self-publishing differ from traditional publishing?
Self-publishing puts publishing in the hands of individuals rather than corporations. In its highest expression, self-publishing allows "writing with heart" to be heard, which would otherwise go disregarded because it's not perceived "good business" for maximizing profit.

Do self-published book review blogs help to raise the reader awareness of self-published books?
I would say not significantly, but everything counts.

How do you respond to the following statement? Self-publishing is not a serious way to get one's work into print now and never will be.
If your aim is to make a living at at it, I would say that's probably true. But if you have other goals, it's also true that 1900 sales (my current estimate since I began in 2002) means something.

Has the golden age of self-publishing already passed or is it yet to come?
The best is yet to come. Less and less people are buying stuff from bricks & mortar stores, and are relying more on online purchasing, which puts anyone with a website in the running for equal attention with traditionally published authors. I also think the ebook has yet to come of age, but it's getting there, with devices like the Kindle and the iPad. Owning a pocket PC certainly changed my negative perception of ebooks.

What about the challenges posed to the self-published writer by having to promote and edit his or her own book?
Badly edited (or non-edited) books are the downside. There are always going to be horrible self-published books that would never see the light of day under the old publishing model. But for the most part, these books are harmless. They never get good reviews, hardly anyone buys them, and they remain unknown to the general population. I'm prepared to live and let live with this downside, since the system also gives the truly great books a chance to flourish.

Promotion is always difficult, and it's a matter of how much work the author is prepared to put in. In my experience the general public doesn't care whether a book is self-published or not. It's only people involved in publishing who make all the fuss.

Why is it that a self-published author has yet to emerge into national recognition as a self-published author? (As opposed to being given a mainstream publishing contract after a self-published book attracts attention.)
Being picked up by a traditional publisher is too seductive to resist, since it opens doors to a much greater audience and the potential to turn a hobby into a career. Few, if any, self-published authors, when offered the opportunity, would turn it down.

Has the experience of self-publishing changed the way you write?
I love the freedom to write what I want to write, from the heart, without being dictated to by current market trends.

Darryl Sloan is the author of Chion. He has a blog at

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