So, I have to confess something: I’m not very pedantic. In fact, I frequently use the phrase “begging the question” in the “wrong” way. If you’re not familiar with this particular bit of pedantry, here is the “wrong” use:
“So the job went without a hitch?”
“It did, but it shouldn’t have. Jake went through before Stark was able to disable the alarms.”
“But the alarms didn’t go off.”
“Exactly. Because the alarms were already disabled. Which begs the question: who disabled them?”
This is wrong, but I use it this way all the time. And I think it’s fine, because while being “wrong”, it makes perfect sense. That something happens, or an argument is raised, that makes the follow-up question so obvious that it begs for it to be asked.
The “right” use, on the other hand, makes little sense to me. To be clear, what it means makes sense to me as a logical fallacy– namely, to form an argument in which the conclusion is assumed as evidence of itself. The idea that this concept is a logical fallacy makes sense, and that it should exist as a typical logical fallacy isn’t something I have an argument with. I just don’t get how the phrase “begging the question” breaks down to mean that, and I’ve yet to see a discussion of this correct use that adequately addresses why it should. Though from what I’ve seen it involves taking the original Ancient Greek phrase and translating it English. But that’s really not important.
This is all my very long-winded way of saying that the typical arguments I see for self-publishing– but more specifically against traditional publishing– beg the question in the “correct” sense of the term.
Namely, the argument is that one ought to self-publish because it’s a given that getting through the gatekeepers of traditional publishing is impossible. Since it can’t be done, why do it that way, when you can go around it?*
Except it can be done. It isn’t easy, but it can be done.
Other arguments are similarly flawed.
As I’ve said in the past, I’ve nothing against self-publishing in and of itself, but I don’t think it’s some sort of panacea or revolution. And more to the point, it’s not for me. It never was, because it involved different fights and struggles that I wasn’t interested in. I had plenty that I wanted to fight, I didn’t need more.
More to the point, now that I’m here, with two books that will be published, will be actual physical books that you can buy in bookstores, as well as e-books that you can get on your kindle, and who knows what else in the future… I’m glad I didn’t take the other route. This was my path, and it wasn’t an easy one, but it was the one that I needed to take. The one I’m still on, and will continue to walk as I write more and more.
But, as with all things, your mileage may vary. Walk the way you need to in order to get where you need to go.
*- The other big “begging the question” argument I’ve seen involves statistics of sales from self-published e-books, where it takes the sales figures of best-selling self-published e-books to demonstrate that best-selling books make money. I don’t doubt that, but that’s still using Olympic running times to prove that everyone can be an Olympic runner.