The dirty word that might not be so dirty anymore

For years, self-publishing has been somewhat of a dirty word in the book industry. While some authors jumped on the bandwagon early on, many more have clung to tradition, doing everything in their power to distance themselves from the writers gone rogue. To self-publish was to break from the norm, circumventing the traditional publishing system to push one’s book out into the world. Going indie was the equivalent of a subversive, traitorous act against the institutional powers that be.


Today, many industry professionals and readers alike still view self-published books as inferior products. The myth that self-published work isn’t good enough for traditional publishers prevails in many circles, prejudicing individuals against not only the books and their authors, but against the process as a whole.


Recent efforts by Publishers Weekly, however, suggest a changing climate. After all, the traditional route isn’t for everyone, and there are a plethora of reasons that a writer might choose to self-publish that reach far beyond the quality of their work. The trade giant seems to recognize this, and has launched its new website, BookLife. Still in beta, the site is sponsored by Publishers Weekly and is dedicated entirely to independent authors.


Upon reaching BookLife’s crisp homepage, visitors are greeted with news on various BookLife projects and a selection of easy to navigate tabs. These subsections offer information and how-to articles on every step of the self-publishing process, ranging from writing tips to print-on-demand services to social media strategies. Authors can also create a BookLife profile under which they can list their own writing projects and connect with other indie writers and reviewers.


The online indie community fostered by BookLife and backed by an industry bigwig proves that self-publishing is no longer a dirty word. Attitudes are changing. More and more authors are shifting away from the traditional houses, choosing to publish their books their way. Going indie no longer means going rogue. Though still in its infancy, BookLife by Publishers Weekly acknowledges this trend, moving the industry even further towards the widespread acceptance of indie publishing.