"You've written a book! Who's your publisher?" (At this point in the proceedings, I am already starting to squirm.)
"Well actually, I'm self-publishing" (At this point, I feel my audience start to squirm)... *Obviously not good enough to get a traditional publisher* (Nobody actually says this part out loud, but it's usually written all over their face.)
Self-publishing is very like online dating, isn't it? (I'm talking about the stigma that everyone is quick to deny exists, even though it definitely does).
"Oh, how did you guys meet?"
*Raised eyebrows* (It'll never work)
... Here we go again.
For the avoidance of doubt, everything that I ever chose to submit was published - my choice to self-publish books just happens to be exactly that... a (personal) choice. A leper of the literary world I might well be, but in today's market, it makes sense.
I could spend years submitting work and dealing with rejections (which often has nothing to do with how good or bad a piece might be, but is sometimes a simple case of *not what we're looking for* - or worse still - *we asked for double spacing... DOUBLE SPACING* (I can't lie - I much prefer 1.5 spacing, but this does of course mean that I run the risk that many potential publishers won't even bother to look at my work at all.)
The fact is that the publishing process is an expensive (not to mention tricky, and onerous) business. Publishing houses receive hundreds (if not thousands) of submissions every week. They simply cannot afford the time or the resources to read them all, and so I find myself asking the question... why would a publisher take the risk when the current times dictate that they don't need to?
I can be a tiny fish in a very large pond (and quite likely lose enthusiasm and give up before anyone has even had the chance to read my work)... or I can self-publish. I rather like the idea of letting the public decide. More and more authors and publishers alike are choosing this route as a preference... if the public likes the writer - the publisher likes the writer. *Zero risk. Everyone's happy*.
And frankly - if self-publishing was good enough for Stephen King, Edgar Allan Poe, Beatrix Potter, Rudyard Kipling, Mark Twain, and more recently EL James... it's definitely good enough for me!