It seems lately I’ve encountered quite a few discussions of the “self-publishing” world, either in my own life or otherwise.
I knew that when we founded this group and gave it the name “Self-Publishers of Chicago,” it would be troublesome. Some zinesters scoff at the term, proposing that we call the group Zinesters of Chicago or something similar. Then there are the professional authors and “legitimate” publishers of the world who think that self-publishing is tantamount to a vanity press.
Let me take this opportunity to explain why we chose the SPOC moniker. To publish is to make anything public, to disseminate information. While there may be a trend out there likening all self-publishing activities to E-Books, On demand publishing and whatever else, we view the term in a much more broad sense.
Our self-publishers make books, produce zines, record podcasts, create interactive tours, paint, sketch drawings, compose music, shoot films and, yes, sometimes make E-books; they produce unique content and put it into the world. That is what publishing is to us. We are a SPOC of all trades.
While the loaded connotation of self-publishing may not always be applicable to people who are active in our group, we think it’s the best term. It’s inclusive, it implies not only creation but active dissemination and – most importantly – it suits us.