Looking in from the outside: The case of the excluded self-publisher

How to Cite

Poliakova, L. (2021). Looking in from the outside: The case of the excluded self-publisher. Stream: Interdisciplinary Journal of Communication, 13(1), 96–110. https://doi.org/10.21810/strm.v13i1.275


A significant portion of books on Amazon are self-published using Kindle Direct Publishing. Self-publishers are given an opportunity to share their work with the world with a few clicks of their mouse. However, traditional publishing infrastructures are not as welcoming to the self-publisher. This paper undertakes to perform a policy analysis of government funding frameworks available to workers of the Canadian publishing industry. Through performing a discourse analysis, the study finds that the self-publisher is ineligible to apply for funds and grants from the government both on the provincial and the federal levels. The self-publishing business model is not recognized as a legitimate one and is often equated with vanity publishing, which comes with a stigma. Furthermore, traditional publishing industry workers act as gatekeepers who also exclude the self-publisher from the conversation around the changing landscape of the Canadian publishing industry. Even though the self-publisher should be recognized as a legitimate worker of the cultural industries, they are not acknowledged as such both by government officials who distribute grants and traditional publishers. This study adds to the limited scope of research conducted on self-publishing in order to break the boundaries that self-publishers encounter. The study concludes with recommendations to assess the process of the distribution of government funds and grants in order to incorporate the changing practices of the cultural industries and incorporate new business models such as self-publishing.

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Copyright (c) 2021 Liz Poliakova