Why some gatekeeping has a point
Excuse the inflammatory subject line – but I only have so many characters in a title. Let me explain:
Self-publishing in its many forms – be it blogging, publishing an e-book, publishing on Amazon or even organizing your own print runs through Kickstarter – have made earning a living from your writing more accessible than ever. Anyone can publish.
However, this also means that a huge part of the vetting process is skipped. While this is a positive thing for marginalized narratives that would get refused by traditional publishers, it also means that books might be published including confusing narratives and spelling errors. In short: a lot more sub-par work might flood the market. Even in Norway, where Arts Council Norway purchases a thousand copies of every book to distribute among libraries, there is an extent of gatekeeping: it needs to pass the Arts Council Norway quality checks.
This is why we as creators need feedback from people we trust. This can be a professional we hire, but also mentors, colleagues, friends and family. In case of the latter though, make sure you filter feedback accordingly. I’ll get to the “how” of that next month.
This notion of creating your own “gatekeeping” and more is discussed in this in-depth Reedsy blog post about the do’s and don’ts of self-publishing a book. There’s a lot to discover there for self-publishing authors, since they not only provide editing, illustration and design services for selfpub authors but also offer a wealth of blog posts and resources to prepare you for your self-publishing adventure!