The myth of self-publishing success

Hollywood and the media feed us a lot of rubbish. Every school classroom (particularly in a rough area) is full of world-class singers/dancers who simply don’t realise how amazing they are until a teacher inspires them to follow their dreams. Every socially awkward girl is actually stunningly beautiful after a haircut and some contact lenses. Every nerdy kid is actually a mathematical genius. . . and so on.

I’m sorry, but it’s just not true. You are almost certainly not a misunderstood genius. Even with a whole lot of hard work, you probably won’t win gold at the Olympics (you’d be amazed how many people don’t). And even if you spend a year – or five years, or even ten years – working on a book (or ten books) – you may not be very good.

I fully understand how hard it is to accept one’s own lack of writing talent – particularly after a lot of hard work towards a goal that other people seem to achieve so easily. A LOT of people don’t accept it – and so they blame mainstream publishing.

And thus is born the extremely powerful myth that self-publishing is the road to success. The few tales of actual self-publishing success are given a huge amount of media time, because they make a great story. The reason they make a great story is because they’re extremely, extremely rare.

Here‘s one of many true and rational articles standing up against the tidal wave of “believe in yourself and self-publish your way to fame and fortune” articles that we’ve all seen.

And here’s my cat, showing us a far likelier road to happiness:

2 thoughts on “The myth of self-publishing success

  1. “You are not a unique snowflake.” (Fight Club, among others)

    Basically, “Believe in yourself, but don’t fall for the lie,” right?

    • W: i’m not sure “believe in yourself” is actually a good idea. “Place your self-worth somewhere other than success in any arts/athletics field” – certainly.

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