And now for the news.
Highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing:
Here’s a bit of much-needed good news! The Publishers Weekly staff have released their latest round of self-published titles, which comes out each month. The books released in the month of August included some real standouts, such as Janet R. Macreery’s A Little Noble, in which 13-year-old “Mercy must rely on Calum, a Highland lad, to finish her mission by midsummer. Their journey takes Mercy to places she had never imagined and Calum to the place he vowed never to return to.” Perfect for younger fans of the Outlander series, right? Mercy is something of an expert on plants despite her youth, and between them Calum and Mercy make for a great (and funny) team. And of course don’t neglect the other interesting books on PW’s August list! There are 97 in total to choose from. (So many books, so little time. Our favorite problem of all.)
One could be forgiven for thinking, at first and even second glance, that Jeva Lange of The Week has something of a chip on her shoulder when it comes to self-publishing. And perhaps she does; like almost all articles pertaining to free speech and self-publishing right now, she approaches the medium’s absence of gatekeepers as the death of fact-checking and good grammar. (You probably already know which examples she cites in her article.) But Lange concludes her article with an interesting statement:
It’s true Trump Jr. has fired a shot across the bow of traditional publishers as self-publishing becomes an appealing alternative for conservative writers both financially and politically. But for the imprints that have legitimized falsehoods with their reputable logos for decades, it’s time to say good riddance.
Steering clear of the electoral politics involved in this quote (and the article at large), it’s clear that Lange and others who bemoan the decline of traditional publishing (which we see as a co-evolution, by the way; self-publishing and traditional publishing are not mutually exclusive propositions) are also on another level aware of its benefits. Self-publishing, as we’ve argued before, is a democratizing influence. Instead of editors and publishers and agents deciding upon whose voices get to be heard (on any subject, not just politics), everyone has a chance to speak up and speak out. In a country as fractured and polarized as ours is just now, the thought that there are more voices of all kinds speaking on a given topic ought to be an encouraging one. We aren’t limited to just two options (for or against, either or or) any one idea, despite the careful curation of certain conversations to seem that way by some others. As a market force, self-publishing has opened the floodgates to countless new perspectives on critical issues, including those guaranteed to ratchet up the tension of dinner table conversations everywhere. And because readers are hungry for more information, and are hungry for more perspectives on topics they care about, self-publishing happens to be a safe place for authors of all kinds to weigh in. We hope that the publishing houses Lange discusses in her article catch on to the benefits of a both/and world as opposed to an either/or.