Independent Publishing: What Would Dr. Johnson Do?

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Okay, let’s see. What do agents and publishers have to offer a new author?

Free editing? Nope.

Marketing, surely? Not much of that either.

So… you edit everything yourself, before it gets to the publisher. Maybe you even hire someone to help.

Then the book comes out and you are left to your own devices to get the thing in the hands of readers.

And in exchange? You now have a lot of people who are entitled to a cut. And who get to decide what to do with your book. Forever.

One is reminded of the great Dr. Johnson’s letter to his “patron“:

Seven years, my lord, have now past since I waited in your outward rooms or was repulsed from your door, during which time I have been pushing on my work through difficulties of which it is useless to complain, and have brought it at last to the verge of publication without one act of assistance, one word of encouragement, or one smile of favour. Such treatment I did not expect, for I never had a patron before. . . . Is not a patron, my lord, one who looks with unconcern on a man struggling for life in the water, and when he has reached ground, encumbers him with help? The notice which you have been pleased to take of my labours, had it been early, had been kind: but it has been delayed till I am indifferent and cannot enjoy it; till I am solitary and cannot impart it; till I am known and do not want it.

Ah yes. Imagining Dr. Johnson with access to the Internet is a sweet, sweet thing (Best… Blogger… Ever…).

One thought on “Independent Publishing: What Would Dr. Johnson Do?

  1. Thank you – my feelings exactly. I had not seen this quote – I have stolen it. For my ‘favorite quotations’ file.

    It’s exactly how I feel about traditional publishing: I have escaped the possibility of gatekeepers by not being able to publish until all the self-publishing blogs of the second decade of the 21st Century are in full swing. I feel so lucky!

    If I ever end up in their clutches, it will be with an intellectual property lawyer firmly on my side and a huge pot of gold on theirs.


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