Trying a Cutting-Edge Approach
A recent New York Times article discusses playwright David Mamet's plans to self-publish his next three pieces through services his publisher offers. Publishing houses have been quick to capitalize on the trend by offering self-publishing services, partially funneling the revenue from those opting to self-publish back into their own coffers, recouping what they would otherwise have lost.
Another way authors utilize self-publishing is by reissuing previously published titles.
Self-publishing's Long History
Long before books transmuted to software, a beyond illustrious array of literary legends published their own books. The list includes Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe, T.S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf. More recently, John Grisham sold his first book, A Time to Kill, out of the trunk of his car. The Elements of Style by Strunk and White was also self-published and has become the unofficial bible of the copyediting world.
Pros and Cons
Authors who choose the self-publishing route don't lose a portion of their royalties to a publishing house, but they do forego receiving an advance. When self-publishing, the author stands to collect approximately 70 percent of their sales; however, it all depends on the deal as an author may receive a large enough advance in a publishing contract to offset the downside of diminished royalties. Self-publishing also affords the author more creative and marketing control.
Love and Money
You can see a parallel between online dating and self-publishing. They no longer carry the stigma of the last resort of people who couldn't close the deal romantically without Internet assistance or acquire a "real" publishing deal. Nearly 25 percent of titles sold on Amazon last year were self-published, and close to 250,000 books are self-published annually.
Leveling the Playing Field
Self-publishing online gives material that might otherwise not have seen the light of public day a home, a worldwide viewing platform and an often responsive audience. A friend of mine who has worked in the publishing industry for many years told me, "Always remember that a book contract with a publisher is first and foremost a business deal. Their primary concern is 'how can your creation make me money?'"
Natural Ability Not Always Recognized in the Business World
A writer's initial inability to get a publishing deal often has nothing to do with a lack of talent; legendary writers who received piles of rejection letters before breaking through such as Stephen King can attest to that.
Changing Landscape of the Publishing Industry
According to the accounts of some self-published writers supplementing their income with their creations, they're happy with how they're doing financially, and in some cases feel they're doing better than writers who have publishing contracts.
Adrienne Erin is a freelance writer always interested in new developments in self-publishing and internet marketing.