The Self-Published Writer’s Hubris

EGOI understand… Sometimes we should just raise shoulders, and move on. But sometimes it is just a tough one.

One aspect of self-publishing that really ruffles me up—and it does so because it hurts all independent authors—is the oddball writer who has quite a peculiar vision of what entails publishing, being read, and the care and sweat needed to achieve that.

The tirade is about understanding self-publishing as a Do-It-Yourself business. Wrong!

The reasons and motivations behind that reasoning(?) can be varied, but the result is always the same:

“I don’t need anyone, I’m good as I am, nobody will ever make me any better than I’m already.” 

The self-published writer’s hubris.

I just had a sort of querelle with someone who, although he claims that it is only a personal thing and he doesn’t suggest others to do the same, invariably writes down a comment on any and every thread online I’ve seen that has to do with editors, proofreaders, and the work they do with writers.

He goes on describing how he doesn’t need nor want the help of editors and proofreaders because one can self-study to do it properly and he’s there to prove it. The absurdity goes even further with comments (citing) like: “I don’t want them” [i.e, readers] “thinking my writing is good because it has been improved by someone else. I strive to produce my best output. A professional editor, proofreader or beta reader cannot improve my best, they can only change it or add to it, or even make the writing better. Thereafter it ceases to be my best, but theirs.”

There are many flaws with that position, clearly affected by the self-publishing hubris:

1) The assumption that your writing is so good that you don’t want readers think that it “… is good because it has been improved by someone else.”
All right, dude. Calm down. You’re in cloud nine and with the highest levels of hubris’ fever.

2) “A professional editor, proofreader or beta reader cannot improve my best.”
Right, your work is the next Greatest American Novel and the level of your writing is already up there, at the writing’s zenith.

3) “they can only change it or add to it”
Wrong, an editor (depending on which level of editing) will fix the obvious typo, or grammar issue, but will not “change” or “add” anything. He’s not there to change your voice, she will point at so-so areas to make *you* the writer think harder: did you really wanted to say *this* this *way* ?
Ah, yes. You don’t have so-so areas.

4) “A professional editor, […] cannot […] make the writing better.”
Yes, we got it, you’re in Mount Olympus with the greatest writers of all times.

5) “Thereafter it ceases to be my best, but theirs.”
Dude, you never worked with a real editor, and you really have a ‘grandeur’ syndrome.

Thanks for reaching the end of this post, and if you are an independent writer, when you’ve spent countless hours on self-editing and self-proofreading, acted upon the feedback from your beta readers, let that 4th version of your manuscript rest for weeks until you almost forgot about it, and then read it aloud once more, do your fellow writers and your readers a huge favor, HIRE AN EDITOR.

If you’re a reader, appreciate what good there is, but don’t be shy, say it: Dude, get an editor. Your story deserves it much more than you think.


Massimo Marino is a scientist envisioning science fiction. He spent years at CERN and The Lawrence Berkeley Lab followed by lead positions with Apple, Inc. and the World Economic Forum. He is also co-founder of “Squares on Blue”, a Big Data Analytics service company, and of BookGarage, a publishing service brokerage company.
Massimo currently lives in France and crosses the border with Switzerland multiple times daily, although he is no smuggler.

As a scientist writing science fiction, he went from smashing particles at accelerators at SLAC and CERN to smashing words on a computer screen. Is is now an author with Booktrope Publishing,  LCC, and Active Member of SFWA – Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.

He’s the author of multi-awarded Daimones Trilogy.

His novels have received the Seal of Excellency from both and IndiePENdents.orgDaimones Postcard Front

• 2012 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Award Winner in Science Fiction
• 2013 Hall of Fame – Best in Science Fiction, Quality Reads UK Book Club
• 2013 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Award Winner in Science Fiction Series
• 2014 Finalist – Science Fiction – Indie Excellence Awards L.A.
• 2014 Award Winner – Science Fiction Honorable Mention – Readers’ Favorite Annual Awards
His novels are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble (Nook), iTunes Apple Store, and many other retailers around the world.
Join his mailing list for new releases, or follow him on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.

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