A little while ago I started reading Joe Konrath’s blog “A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing,” and spotted an interview with newly-famed author Hugh Howey. You can follow the link here.
I commented a while back on the way in which Howey and other authors have gotten their big breaks via the Internet, but I’ve also made it clear how I feel about self-publishing, either online or in print. While I haven’t completely changed my opinion after reading this interview, I have to say that I can respect a lot of what Howey says. For example, the fact that Howey writes what he wants and doesn’t think about securing contracts or even gaining a greater audience is very close to my mindset with my own writing, as well as his argument that a writer should focus on giving his readers and excellent story above all else. I can also accept what Howey says about the challenges of trying to get published through the mainstream, where you’re at the mercy of agents and editors. However, I disagree with his stance that the difficulty of gaining success through traditional publishers is greater than gaining success independently. While self-publishing allows you to engage directly with the reader, it means that you take on all the responsibilities of an agent, marketer and publisher in addition to trying to keep up with your writing. I think it can be advantageous to take some of the work out of your hands so you can focus on your next project, and put it into capable hands that don’t need to learn the ins and outs of publishing from scratch.
I’m something of a relativist, so I won’t totally discount the idea of self-publishing; that would also be silly of me, given the success of Howey and others. But my plan for now is to work toward more traditional publishing.