Vanity Press

To self-publish or not self-publish – that is the question
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of rejection letter after rejection letter
Or to make up your own book on a vanity press
And by self-publishing end them. To write, to query–
No more–and by a query we extend
The heartache, and the thousand disappointments
That writers are heir to. ‘Tis a scenario
Wished to be avoided. To write, to query–
To query–perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub,
For as we wait for that publisher letter that may come
And tell us if all our hard work has paid off,
We might take a pause. There’s the thing
That makes calamity of waiting too long.
For how do we gain an audience when our manuscript sits on a desk,
Short stories in magazines, online fiction sites
Open mike night at the cafe, writing group critiques,
Underground zines, or the blogosphere
Where many people claim internet fame,
When he himself can publish his work
With places like Lulu.com? Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary writer’s life,
But that the dread of being frowned upon,
The stigma of vanity press, from whose bourn
Few writer’s return, pauses the will,
And makes us rather bear the publishers indifference
Than use self-publishing companies we know of?
Thus possible besmirchment make cowards of us all,
And thus the resolution to be artists for the sake of art
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And options of great potential to reach audiences
With this regard their reputation does them ill
And lose many writers who might take action.

– modified version of Hamlet’s soliloquy written by me.

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