In high school, I wrote the school paper, The Bay Window, and our tagline was "through the window, shines the light".
What's that got to do with self-publishing? Well, it's a new window for writers, right?
Or is it?
Vanity publishing has been around for the ages. That's what we called it in the old-pre cyber days. Vanity Publishing.
You had to pay someone to take your words and put them into a book, then you had to hawk the books yourself to try and make back the thousands you'd spent to get "published". Basically anyone could be published if they had the funds.
No self-respecting writer--SRW--would ever do it. SRW wanted to be paid to be published. SRW wanted the agent call, the editor to help polish the book, the book to hold in their hand, and finally the book on the shelf.
Imagine Joan Wilder without the posters in her apartment, without lugging her 5oo page monstrosity to the bar to give to her agent, or the prefinal scene in her agents office, staring wistfully out the window. I remember wanting an agent who cared about me, cared about my writing, cared enough to share a drink and check out the guys in the bar. Or the moment when the drug lord recognizes her name, "Joan Wilder? The Joan Wilder?"
Whole different movie if Joan Wilder is a self-published author, isn't it?
For me, I still want the Joan Wilder dream.
I want the validation of an agent. I want the publisher who believes that I'm worth the risk of giving me an advance. I want the book on the shelf and I want to build a readership that makes someone pull my book off the shelf just because I'm the author.
I also want Michael Douglas as my Jack Colton, but that's a different post.