There's been a lot of discussion online lately about self-publishing, from Karin Gillespie's post at Romancing the Blog to Wendy's post. Wendy asked, "I have to wonder why a writer who does not find a home with a large house or a small press or an e-publisher would choose a vanity press instead of knowing when to fold 'em?"
Generally speaking, it's obvious to me why most people who wind up going the self-published route travel that road... the excerpts from their books are poorly written, horrifically punctuated, and don't inspire me to want to buy the rest of the book. Virtually every book I've seen that's self-published has had an atrociously bad excerpt, and the awfulness is then compounded by a horrible cover. I hate to be so blunt, but I haven't seen many (if any) exceptions to this.
But then I came across this. I don't know Alyssa Goodnight, but when I spotted her post on a blog somewhere and saw she referred to herself as a self-pubbed author, I followed the link. I love to go scope out self-published writers' sites... they tend to have the dreadful fascination of a train wreck. But when I went to Goodnight's site, I was surprised by how nice it looked. Very pretty and very navigable. I thought her cover looked pretty darn good, too. And her excerpt is quite readable. I'll admit the dialogue tags are overdone for my personal taste-- I see "yelped," "announced," and "quipped" in the space of three short paragraphs-- but overall, it seems to me the excerpt has promise.
She says on her site that she "decided that rather than spend time searching for an agent, waiting for publisher responses, preparing submissions--not to mention spending a small fortune on postage--she'd channel her energies (along with her husband's) into self-publishing, cross her fingers, and hope readers would find her. " I can understand that, although I do wonder what caused her to choose this path rather than, say, e-publishing. Maybe she wanted a paper book rather than an electronic one. I don't know and can't speculate. But I am definitely intrigued. It's nice to know that there are self-pubbed authors out there who can turn out a reasonably professional site and product.