As you may or may not know, I self-published Just the Way You Are in November 2015. The fact that I self-published the book means that I not only wrote the book, but had it formatted and copyrighted, bought an ISBN number, designed the book, and had full creative input on my website design. Although I love all the freedom the being a self-published author affords me, it was not a decision I came to lightly. In fact, I originally tried to go the traditional route and find a publisher, but after receiving thirty rejection letters, I’d begun to lose hope. At that point, I asked myself whether or not I believed in the book enough to share it with the world. Once I realized the answer to that question was a definite yes, I pursued self-publishing. Some people may read this blog post and say that I self-published because I could not get published in the traditional way, but truth be told, I chose to stop pursuing being published in the traditional way because I realized the story was put on my heart and not anyone else’s, so therefore it was my duty to do whatever I could to share it with the world instead of just giving someone else the opportunity to share with the world.
The book went through several drafts and was edited by four different people apart from myself. To say that it was gone through with a fine-tooth comb several times would be an understatement. While Just the Way You Are has not received many reviews in the two years since it was published, those that it has received are generally very positive. Furthermore, people who have read the book have told me that they enjoyed it very much and that it is very well written. However, many people assume that it is not a very good story, or at least, not a well-written story just because I self-published it. Many other self-published authors that I’ve met in person or through groups on social media say that they have the same problem. Many people believe in and support the saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” In my opinion, “don’t judge a book by how it’s published” should also be a saying because the quality of the story and the quality of writing the should be what is most important. With all due respect to Stephenie Meyer, I cringed the whole time I read the Twilight series because there were so many errors in it. I’ve chosen to point that out because she is one of the most successful writers out there and very respected in a literary community yet her books were full of errors. My book, which as I said, was edited by several different people and does not have errors in it, but is not respected because I self-published it. Does that make sense to you? It doesn’t make sense to me.
Please do not get me wrong, I’m not writing this blog to complain even though it may seem that way. I am writing this book to point out that a book should not be judged by how it’s published, but rather on the story itself and how it is written because chances are most books that are self-published by authors are self-published not because the author isn’t a good writer and could not get traditionally published, but because the authors, like me, believed in their stories enough to share them with the world despite discouraging feedback they may have received. Furthermore, as I pointed out earlier in this post, self-published authors has more say and must contribute more to the publishing process than traditionally published authors and should, in my opinion, be respected based on that alone. Again, I’m not trying to be argumentative, I’m just trying to help people see the commitment that self-publishing a book requires and point out the fact that self-published author should be respected for making and sticking to that commitment. I hope you will remember this blog post the next time you see a book by a self-published author. Until next time, happy reading!