When Boyfriend first suggested I self-publish What Happens in New York (then called Girls Just Wanna Have Fun), I wrinkled my nose. Why on earth would I do that? A few years later, I’ve changed my mind.
I’ve spoken before about my reasons for choosing to self-publish What Happens in New York, but it was more than just those reasons that changed my perception of self-published novels. Sure, there’s a lot of crap out there, but the traditional publishers put out a lot of shit too. Traditional publishers are only interested in what will sell, and that’s not always (or very often) the greatest literature. What that is will depend on the publisher and their target audience.
Of course, most traditional publishers probably wouldn’t be interested in dinosaur erotica. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Self-published novels aren’t always edited, and the covers aren’t always designed professionally. The characters can be two-dimensional; the plots boring; the description dire. But none of these things are exclusive to self-published novels. Different editors will pick up on different issues within your novel, therefore it’s important to have multiple people read through it, particularly those that pick up on different things.
So what’s the one thing that changed my prejudice against self-publishing?
The reader doesn’t care.
How many of us check the publisher when we’re deciding to read a book? We look at the title, the author, the cover. We read the blurb. But does which publishing house it comes from actually affect our decision to purchase it?
Unless we work in the publishing industry, most of us have no idea the difference between each of them, or in fact, how many of them are the same.
And we don’t care.
So why should it matter whether your novel is published traditionally, or self-published, so long as readers enjoy it?
I have no idea which publishing houses published my favourite books outside of Harry Potter, and the only reason I know about that is because I used to spend hours on the Harry Potter section of the Bloomsbury website.
Ultimately, what readers are going to connect with is a great story and great characters.
The logo on the spine means about as much to them as beef stew does to a vegetarian.
The more I think about this decision, the more I’m certain it’s the right path for me. If you prefer to pursue the traditional publishing route, that’s entirely your prerogative and you should go for it. At the end of the day, you should do what feels right for you and your characters.
What Happens in New York is available to preorder today!