The question discussed here is: Should publishers (of magazines or books) publish their own work under their imprint?
I understand that there are certain publishers that do publish their own work but the general consensus between publishers seems to be that you should not publish your own work. The middle-class ideology behind it is that then you are on a fair playing field with everyone else, you don’t get preferential treatment and if your work does get picked up then it is valuable enough to be worthy of publication. This, however, is not my opinion.
The first argument that I would put up against someone of this opinion would be to ask: Well, why did you start up a publishing company in the first place? Hopefully, you would get an answer around the principles of being able to do it better than everyone else or why would there be the need for them to do it? This leads me onto my point that, if you can publish things to a higher standard than everyone else, then why would you want to send it to anyone else? It’s a simple as that. Unless you think that your own writing is worthy of a bigger audience than you can give it.
The only logical argument against publishing your own work on your imprint is that you don’t want to plough a lot of money into your own book/books and not have the money to publish anyone else’s. And, yes, this is a good point that is commendable. But take a look at Dischord Records, the first song they recorded was their own band Teen Idles and, throughout the years it has been running, they have constantly released Minor Threat and Fugazi albums which the label owners were actually members of. The point is, do you want to be a Simon Cowell who tries to find talent that’s going to make you money and publish them or are you publishing to be a part of something greater than that? If you aren’t creating something fulfilling, if you’re not passionate enough to think that you have to be a part of it then maybe you’re doing something wrong. And why should someone else’s judgment of your work be better than your own? We’ve all seen the crap lined up on the shelves at airports and bookshops around the country. Be brave and don’t worry if other people snigger at the fact that you’ve put your own work out, there’re more important things than that.
This is only a brief overview of my humble opinion, I could go on about City Lights Books and others but I'll refrain from making it a tedious lecture. We'd love to hear other people’s opinions on this topic so please let us know what you think in the comments.