TJ is a writer living in Portland, OR.


Last year at Wordstock I was amazed with how many people I met who self-published books (physical books or e-books). I was also amazed how many of the books sounded awful when they described them or had amazingly awful cover art (it may seem petty but seeing a really poor photoshop cover makes me cringe).  Anyone can publish a book now. ANYONE. 

Sorry, my cultural elitism is showing. I'm sure that there are quality titles out there in the self-publishing world, but I'm not wiling to wade into the ocean of sub-par books written by someone who won't even have someone proof-read something before they hit the 'publish' button.

I have some friends who have published through Perfect Day Publishing and I really like the idea of small presses (I interned there, it is run by one person). I see them as this kind of great mid-way between the ivory towers of the big publishing houses and the wilds of the self-publishing world. But small presses are by definition small and have limited reach.

I just read this great article on the state of publishing (from Forbes... someone linked it on Facebook) taking a look at the battle between the 'legitimacy' of traditional publishing and the 'democracy' of self-publishing. It ends on a hopeful note, hypothesizing where publishing as a whole might go:

  1. A system of reviewing independently published books will help create a system for discovering what is good in the self-publishing world.
  2. More 'mid-level' authors will embrace independent publishing, giving it more credibility.
  3. The big publishing houses will finally learn to adapt to the sea-change and find a new profit model

This was I think the best argument I read for self-publishing in the article:

Indie filmmakers are revered, not reviled, partly because they eschew the studio system and its constraints on artistic expression. And the art world seems keenly attuned to the idea that the next GeorgiaO’Keeffe might be producing revolutionary work somewhere out of their sight until she turns 30. Publishing is different from other creative industries because the machinery has not yet adapted to the profound technological shift it is undergoing.
— David Vinjamuri

Full Moon Silhouettes

Part-time artist