I don’t have any problem with people going the self-publish route. I have a problem with myself going the self-publish route.
Back in 2006 or 2007, I got a Facebook message from one of my friends. She worked at a bookstore at the time and asked if my books were available to be sold. At the time, I’d only printed them as gifts to my mom and to have on my bookshelf. You know, ego stuff.
Well, she brought it up and I was 19 or 20 so I was game for it. I bought ISBNs for the three books I’d had written. Two of these books were from high school, one was a NaNoWriMo novel. None of the three had been revised. Because I didn’t like revising and I was a little shit.*
So I put them up and the bookstore owner bought about 20 of them. And my best friend from High School peddled them expertly. They sold out.
Well, I’ve grown up a bit. First, I realized that some of the ideas I had about life were just not true. Second, I realized that my writing in my teens was absolute garbage.
Those self-published editions that exist out in the world somewhere are a little embarrassing. I just know that if I ever get popular or famous, someone is going to pull out those old editions and show them off like “Look! She thought Foster Parents were monsters!”** It’s like your mom bringing out baby pictures to show to your dates.
The problem I have with self publishing is that there are no gate keepers to stop you from putting out work that is just not good. If someone read the original version of True Majik that I self published, they wouldn’t care to look at anything I’ve written since. Hell, if someone read it now, they wouldn’t care to look at anything I write in the future. I didn’t change enough or fix the pacing to make it a very good book in the latest iteration. But at least I cut out the “I’m a grown up, look at me writing grown up things” garbage that was laced throughout.
*I am still a little shit. Don’t let the past tense here fool you into thinking I’ve changed. I haven’t.
**Totally never thought Foster Parents were evil. I just kinda took White Oleander and Harry Potter and mixed it up to give some tragic reason for my main character in a book to run away with a bunch of convicts. I was 15 or 16 when I wrote that book. Teenage!me was kind of dramatic and angry and wanted to run away and find people who “cared”*** about her.
***See “let her do whatever she wants and date the guy who was way too old for her.”