Self-publishing: when white looks blacker than black

December 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

During the first interval in the Self-Publishing Summit, I spoke to a very nice lady who had recently retired. She asked me what sort of writing I did. I told her. She said I should be proud of myself and my accomplishments (which were nothing to do with writing). Then she posited the question: Did I have to be published? Wasn’t it privilege enough to write?

She had created her own book on a photocopier, and presumably had bound it in some way. She had distributed copies amongst her friends and relations. And they had liked it.

Somehow the combination of its being a privilege to write (not to be published and sell) became involved with the photocopy machine. Was I deluded? Had I lost so much perspective that I dared to imagine that I would, one day, be a published writer? Ought I get down off my high horse and content myself with a future whereby I would cobble together a book out of photocopied pages and give such books to my friends and family for nothing?

It was because this lady was so well-meaning that I found her ideas so devastating. If she had been negative, I could have dismissed her by saying she was just a negative sort of person. But she wasn’t being negative, she was being positive, talking about the privilege of writing. Yet she made me feel more down about my future than the ghost of self-publishing future did. There are times when white is blacker than black.

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