I'm really not trying to alienate any self-published authors out there. Really, I mostly don't care how other people conduct their writing business. I'm too concerned with conducting my own.
Yesterday I was at the dentist (no cavities!) and the hygienist started asking me about books and writing and publishing. Her son is interested in writing. Fair enough. I answered her questions as best I could with fingers and those cruel little hook things and a mirror in my mouth.
"How much did it cost you to publish your book?"
I blurted, "Nothing. I mean, they paid me."
I find more and more that when I say I'm a writer, especially when I admit, yes, I'm published, the reasonably informed public assumes I'm self-published.
And even though I don't have anything against self-publishing at all, it's annoying as all hell that people assume self-publishing is the tack I took since I've spent the last eight years working my hinder to a point (as Mom puts it) building my writing into a viable career. Also I have chosen not to self-publish to this point.
Alongside that is a sort of feeling, which I really believe is real, of prejudice in the general public against self-published works. Which I think is understandable: sure, I know several folks who have great self-pubbed works out there. There are far, far more self-published books that should never see any light beyond the glow of the writer's own monitor.
Maybe I shouldn't care. But my success relies on readers. Part of my work, my business, involves caring what they think. So it puts me in the uncomfortable position of having to prove my work's worth, even in small talk. And really, it kind of pisses me off, too, because at the end of the day, despite some success on the part of self-published authors (though minor compared to the hundreds of thousands of books and stories uploaded online every year) I really still have a lot of belief in the traditional route, and I'm proud of the hard work it took for me to achieve what I have.