I’ve always kinda felt like any morbidly curious person who wanted to understand how it felt to face daily prejudice and discrimination should just self-publish a book and watch as they were wilted down into an incompetent, worthless, inferior by the rest of the publishing world.
Watch as the condescending headpats come in. “Oh sure, you’re a real author. Sure.”
Watch as every book blogger, contest, and community suddenly wants nothing to do with you.
Watch as every person you tell your book about gets a fixed smile as they pretend to encourage you.
Watch as the world openly points and laughs at you, belittles you, and writes entire dissertations about how you are inferior and disgusting and a blight on the publishing world.
It’s not the full experience of living with oppression, of course. It doesn’t extend into the workplace, where you’re lucky to get hired at all, where you’re often the first person let go. It doesn’t extend to your family or your community or your ability to walk down the fucking street, shop in a store without being deemed “suspicious.” It doesn’t extend to comedians dressing up like you and mocking and shaming your body. It doesn’t extend to casual slurs hurled at you with the expectation that you will quietly, docilely take them. It doesn’t extend into the courtroom, where your rapist will be patted on the head because now his life is ruined, not yours, even though everyone is writing disgusting articles detailing your rape and blaming you for getting separated from your friends.
For me, a marginalized person, self-publishing is just the cream on the already-sour cake. It’s one more thing holding me back from achieving my goals. You could argue that self-publishing is a choice and that being born gay, for instance, is not. But . . . sometimes I don’t feel as if the traditional publishing world left me any choice. For me, self-publishing was the only way to be heard.