Author, Fiction, My Books, Novel, Publish, Reader, Writing

How self-publishing is like American Idol

I don’t sing, and the only thing I know about music is what I like, but I’ve realized something by watching American Idol. From auditions to finalists, the singers are a lot like self-published authors.

Some authors don’t care much what anyone thinks of their books. They publish just for the fun and thrill of it, like the guy who auditions for Idol in a hula skirt and coconut shell bra. Some publish because they erroneously believe they’re great writers, deluded either by self or family and friends. Those authors would be like the hopefuls who never make it past the audition round. The rest of the authors can write to varying degrees, like the singers who get a ticket to Hollywood.

Just as in traditional publishing, the degree of sales success reached by each of this last group of authors is not easy to predict. Sometimes the story outweighs the skill. Sometimes the author’s personality enhances the sales. Sometimes the author’s connections triumph all. Sometimes the author has a combination of two, three, or all of these factors.

Which author type am I?  I’m not publishing just for the fun and thrill. I work hard to produce the best product I can. And I’m not deluded; I can write. I’ve been judged in critique groups, and my writing has made it through the auditions and earned my place at Hollywood week. Now it’s time for the elimination rounds. My book is about to step out on the big stage. The reading public gets a chance to vote. I hope to be setting on the couch after the results are read.

Going Indie has given me that chance.

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20 thoughts on “How self-publishing is like American Idol”

  1. When in the eye of the storm is best to make yoursels more of a spectator, and take in the spinning scene around you: Not very focused though, just gazing. Let the storm pass and than take a deep breath and a have a good look… Now you can see each detail.
    Happy publishing Day!



  2. Hey Linda,
    this may be a stupid question, but what do you mean by “going indie”? I am not from the States, so I have never heard this expression in this context before.
    I’m writing poetry, and I have been wanting to publish a collection of poems for some time now. My first idea was to publish them via a book on demand-service. I guess this is what you mean by self-publishing.
    I think it is hard to find a publisher for poetry these days, especially when one doesn’t have a reputation yet. It is probably much easier to land a deal for a novel, or short stories. Which magazines, newspapers etc would you recommend to send poems to?
    Thank you in advance 🙂


    1. Welcome to my blog, aswrights. As I used it, “indie” is another term for self-publishing. It’s definitely a viable alternative nowadays to writers and poets. I would recommend you go to Duotrope’s Digest which is “an award-winning, free writers’ resource listing over 3350 current Fiction and Poetry publications.” You can also set up a free account and keep track of your submissions. Good luck 🙂


  3. Hi,
    I’m new to your blog but I find it both helpful and encouraging. I also hoped to have my novel published someday, but i think I’ll look for a publisher in Asia, instead of America, because my characters and settings are from this area. Plus, I don’t think American readers will be able to relate nor appreciate my characters due to their differences of perspectives about life.


    1. I wish you well in your publisher search, Julius. And you are right that Asian readers will relate on a different level, but never underestimate the curiosity of all humans to learn about others. 🙂


  4. Thank you, Linda. I agree with the human curiosity to learn more about others, but it doesn’t necessarily translates to buying books among the readers. In my experience of reading American novels, with American characters, I have always felt like an ‘outsider’ looking in, not quite sure where to place myself in the characters on what they’re thinking and feeling. I’ve always translated this void to the differences in my orientation and socializaton with my fellow American readers, who immerse themselves in the books and their characters because they have something in common.

    In general, all human beings are the same. We all have this narcissistics desire to mend our insecurities, whatever that may be, and to validate our identity. This is the reason why readers, and writers, tend to gravitate towards characters that are similar to them. The only difference between American readers, and the other readers throughtout the world, is what we see as right or wrong…moral or immoral…ethical or unthecial. These choices is the pre-cursor whether or not publishers…and readers…will endorse/publish and buy your book, respectively. Regards, to your writing ventues. Julius


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