Host Garrison Keillor answers your questions about life, love, writing, authors, and of course, A Prairie Home Companion.
Send GK Your Question »
April 24, 2008 |
Dear Mr. Keillor,
I was just wondering what your thoughts were about self publishing books. Do you think it's a good idea for someone that wants to really become a writer, or should they stay the course and continue to query agents in hopes of one day being picked up by an agent?
Harker Heights TX
Self-deception is the occupational hazard among writers. It's awfully hard to look at our own work objectively and so we might be filled with loathing for something that's actually worthwhile. Or we might be in love with something that is practically unreadable. We look at it and see what we intended it to be and not what's there. And so we send the work to a disinterested party, somebody unrelated to us, somebody who can easily say no, and we hope for their good opinion. We're asking them to invest money in us, and money serves to focus their attention. They're on the line. When you publish yourself, you're skipping some of these steps and taking a big risk with your own money. I've seen so few self-published books that were worth anyone's time. "Vanity publishing" is a pretty accurate term for them. The authors believed in their own genius to the point that they dispensed with the services of an editor, and it shows. Having said that, though, I must confess that I am planning to publish myself this summer: a collection of sonnets and also a collection of newspaper columns. Good luck to you, whatever you do.