From The Huffington Post:
As a published author, people often ask me why I don’t self-publish. “Surely you’d make more money if you got to keep most of the profits rather than the publisher,” they say.
I’d rather share a cabin on a Disney cruise with Donald Trump than self-publish.
To get a book published in the traditional way, and for people to actually respect it and want to read it — you have to go through the gatekeepers of agents, publishers, editors, national and international reviewers. These gatekeepers are assessing whether or not your work is any good. Readers expect books to have passed through all the gates, to be vetted by professionals. This system doesn’t always work out perfectly, but it’s the best system we have.
Good writers only become good because they’ve undertaken an apprenticeship. The craft of writing is a life’s work. It takes at least a decade to become a decent writer, tens of thousands of hours. Your favorite authors might have spent years writing works that were rejected. But if a writer is serious about her craft, she’ll keep working at it, year after year. At the end of her self-imposed apprenticeship, she’ll be relieved that her first works were rejected because only now can she see how bad they were.
. . . .
The problem with self-publishing is that it requires zero gatekeepers. From what I’ve seen of it, self-publishing is an insult to the written word, the craft of writing, and the tradition of literature. As an editor, I’ve tackled trying to edit the very worst writing that people plan on self-publishing just because they can.
Link to the rest at The Huffington Post and thanks to Matthew and others for the tip.
PG says it’s wonderful that those who lack native talent and require an extended internship before learning to write decently have traditional publishing to help them along.
PG says it’s also wonderful that those who possess native writing talent and can learn to write more quickly don’t have to wait for some intern in New York to read their email before making their writing available to grateful readers (at a reasonable price) by self-publishing.