Charlie Wendig has written a hilarious… and genuinely insightful…post about the justifiable stigma attached to self-publishing and how to avoid it. Here's a taste:
I (and I’m sure other capable writers) have noticed and noted that self-publishing bears a certain stigma. With the term comes the distinct aroma of flopsweat born out of the desperation of Amateur Hour — it reeks of late night Karaoke, of meth-addled Venice Beach ukelele players, of middle-aged men who play basketball and still clutch some secret dream of “going pro” despite having a gut that looks like they ate a basketball rather than learned to play with one.
Self-publishing just can’t get no respect. This is, of course, in contrast to other DIY endeavors.[…]This is in part because it’s a lot harder to put an album or a film out into the world. You don’t just vomit it forth. Some modicum of talent and skill must be present to even contemplate such an endeavor and to attain any kind of distribution. The self-publishing community has no such restriction. It is blissfully easy to be self-published. I could take this blog post, put it up on the Amazon Kindle store and in 24 hours you could download it for ninety-nine cents. It’s like being allowed to make my own clothing line out of burlap and pubic hair and being allowed to hang it on the racks at J.C. Penney.
That last line just killed me. And it's not even the funniest bit in his post. What's great is that he doesn't just take cheap shots at bad, self-published writers the way, say, I would. By using strong examples, he clearly and hilariously illustrates the many cringe-inducing mistakes made by aspiring writers and, at the same time, offers solid advice on how to avoid "gumming up the plumbing with your old underpants." It's a very entertaining read, whether you're a writer or not.