The Publishing Civil War: It’s All About Money.

Allegory of Peace and War by Pompeo Girolamo Batoni, 1776


You know what I’ve learned looking around the internet?

The biggest problem between the whole civil war between self-publishing authors and traditionally published author is money.

Money, my friends.

The truth is…you don’t have to be a good writer to make money as a writer.

That is what self-publishing is proving. At least, that’s what it’s proving to me.

You still need a good story, the better the story, the better the money. But a lot of readers aren’t nitpickers. You can get by with a wordy sentence or grammar mishaps, even lazy writing, as long as the story is good enough, addictive enough.

You can make money.

This is where the war gets ugly. That fact creates this argument: If you can make money with a good story and not good writing, then anyone with a good story should just publish right now!

Well, I doubt self-publishing authors actually think that way and not all of them are bad writers. But if there’s one thing I’ve noticed as the #1 complaint about a bestselling self-pub e-book is the grammar and the writing, perhaps even the logic.

Never the plot.  Just the details.

I bet those authors just don’t care. If they’re making money, that’s all that matters. Those who criticize are just haters.

And of course the traditionalists (?) get ruffled up because their entire lives are/were devoted to publishing the best quality writing possible.

So the war battles on. Writing vs Story. Style vs Plot.

Funny thing is… I like both.

Writers should strive to learn to write the best they possibly can.

But know they can make some money before they hit their prime (and you can be traditionally published BEFORE you’re good too, it’s not a guarantee).

A lot of writers break in by writing articles or copy or technical writing while they write the perfect book so they can quit the day job and be a full time novelist.

And I wonder, why can’t they just write their stories and publish themselves until they get good enough to write that perfect book?

I like traditional publishing. I like the gatekeepers. I want to win their approval. I really do.

But for most jobs, you start knowing nothing. You learn as you work.  The thing is you still get paid for your work, even if it’s not the best yet and you’re still learning.

Why must writers toil without being paid behind the scenes, learning their craft, without being paid until they’re already good enough?

I propose a truce! Both ways are good! Let everyone do both!

Let self-publishing be on-the-job training where you can even hide under a pseudonym in case things don’t work out. Then when you’ve learned, you try the Traditional publishing route again as a test of the strength of your skill (though it’s not the ultimate fail safe test, since some publishers don’t have any clue what’s good or bad either sometimes, but it still gets your work under experienced eyes). If they treat you badly or don’t pay you, it won’t be that bad because you’re already making money elsewhere writing stories.

Why can’t we do both? I honestly don’t get the hate.

Peace & Love, people.

Peace & Love.


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