Okay, I know I already did one blog today, but this seriously needs to be addressed. I know I'll ruffle a few feathers with this, but what I'm going to write here is the truth, plain and simple, and if you ask any professional writer, they'll agree. Here it is:
MONEY FLOWS TO THE AUTHOR, NEVER AWAY.
Simple statement, eh? Here's the problem. Say you're an aspiring writer. You've just written your 400+ page opus, and you start sending it around. And you get rejected. Then along comes some company...Oh...Let's say Publish America, or Harlequin, who says "You too can be a real live author through our imprint, if you agree to pay for the publishing costs!" You agree to fork over a boatload of cash and suddenly, you have a book! You're a professional author, right? Not so fast, Sparky...Not even close.
If I wanted to, I could put together a book consisting of 400 formatted pages of the words "Dog Excrement" over and over, design it myself and publish it myself. Seriously, you could do that. It's easy...and all it takes is money. But if I did that, would I consider myself an author? Who would edit my work? Would would have the gonads to stand up to me and say "Hey, Scott, y'know that crap book? It really is crap?" Not only that, but what stores would carry it, and just who would buy the thing? Sure, my mom would. She buys all my books (and doesn't read them for some strange reason), but who else? So now you have a print run of 2,000 books sitting in your garage. Still feel like an author?
Folks, the point I'm trying to make here is this: What separates the wannabes from the professionals? Easy: Being Professional. I wouldn't trust an amateur surgeon, and I wouldn't trust an amateur writer. The bottom line is this...Listen well and listen hard...Professional writers (with very few notable exceptions) do not self-publish. Period. End of story. I can count the number of well-written and successful self-published writers on one hand, and I don't even need all my fingers.
So Harlequin has decided to go into the vanity-publishing business. Dandy for them. Glad to hear it. They weren't high on my list of publishers in the first place, but what respect I had for the grand old house is now gone. By becoming a "pay-for-play" site, they've joined the ranks of bottom-feeders like Publish America in the publishing game. And that's really just sad. A publisher I once worked with pulled this same "marketing move" and began to offer "co-publishing" contracts. I quit sending them stuff.
Folks, I've had nine (count 'em) books published, and I've never paid a dime to do so. I do not, nor shall I ever, pay to have my work published. Why? Because I'm a professional writer, that's why. Just like it says on the brass plaque. This is my job. I don't pay you to do my job. I get paid for my job. There are safeguards for me to do my job. Editors, designers, marketers...Those help my work be the best it can be. Without them, you may as well find another line of work.