One of my writing colleagues sent me a blog posting today and I thought it would make a great topic for my weekly blog (good timing!) Here's the link to the post: http://kianadavenportdialogues.blogspot.com/2011/08/sleeping-with-enemy-cautionary-tale.html
It's about an author who had self-published and later received a contract from a traditional publisher (one of the Big 6) on a new book (one that had not been self-published). When the publisher found out she had previously self-published other works, they demanded she remove them. When she refused, the publisher cancelled her contract and her advance. She claims the publisher considers self-publishing to be the "enemy."
This is a truly unfortunate story and hopefully one that is the exception rather than the rule. There are many cases where authors have actually been signed on by traditional publishers as a result of the success of their self-publishing efforts. I certainly understand that traditional publishers have felt an impact to their bottom line as a result of ebooks. The publishing industry is changing, and everyone--authors and publishers--need to navigate this unkown road.
I would never advise an author to stay away from self-publishing based on the blog author's experience. I do not believe that self-publishing is the enemy, nor does it hurt an author's credibility. I think self-publishing is a saving grace, and there are numerous success stories. I think there is room in the industry for both traditionally published books, ebooks and self-published books. I think that ebooks will continue to grow at an exponential rate. I don't believe print books will ever become obsolete (at least I hope not!) But publishers do need to figure out how to exist in this changing industry, and calling self-publishing the "enemy" is not the way to go.
When an author self-publishes, they must take on 100% of the marketing for that book. This takes time, knowledge and a lot of persistence. I would think a traditional publisher would be ecstatic if they signed on an author who had experience in self-publishing and was ahead of the game in marketing their own material. This would only increase sales of the book, which is a win for everyone!
If you want to see how positive self-publishing is, here is another blog: http://blog.smashwords.com/2011/09/how-to-self-publish-ebook-with.html
The ebook self-publishing site www.Smashwords.com, (which I love) asked its authors to share their experiences. This blog post lists 32 different links where authors tell their stories, share tips and advice on self-publishing with Smashwords. It certainly reaffirms my belief that self-publishing is a positive step to take--it's definitely NOT the "enemy!"