Self-publishing somehow makes a writer not a professional? I don’t agree. Of course, I am biased by being a self-published author, but because I am one I feel a desire to respond.
You are right that self-publishing is like buying a lottery ticket. The chances of success and fame are low. But that does not mean it is any less real or tangible than being a professional writer. The same craft is going into both. The same passion. Does the success of a writer really indicate the quality of their work? Does the choice of how to publish really make a difference in what the writer puts out? Does whether the writing is a ‘day-job’ for a person matter?
Because there have been famous authors that were unsuccessful, self-published, and had day jobs. Authors read widely and well regarded. Authors with work one would most certainly call professional.
But maybe you mean professional means that you have other people do the ‘non-writing’ parts of the process. Editing. Cover art. Marketing. That can happen with self-publishing. Editors, artists, and advertisers can all be used by an indie author.
Or maybe you mean that you’ll get a steady paycheck from it. Traditional wins in that regard more often than not. It can happen with indies, but not frequently. In order to gain our creative freedom we give up the idea of a larger monetary gain. What is the cost of a writer’s creativity and freedom when becoming traditional? Of their artistic expression?
I don’t know.
But I know the odds.
I’m taking my lottery ticket.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.