What was once called “vanity publishing” (because people thought it was vain or egotistic to print your own book) has emerged into a highly advanced industry that caters both to the emerging authors that haven’t yet broken into the mainstream and those authors that choose to remain autonomous and control their careers. Self-publishing is an excellent method of getting your book into people’s hands, whether family, friends, or professionals, like literary agents.
I self-published my fifth book in December of 2013. The front and back covers are printed in brilliant and glossy color, the inside pages are printed in dark and legible black ink and the binding is perfect bound (glued together). My book has its own unique ISBN and can be found on Internet sites such as Amazon. There’s even a Kindle version (which sells far more copies than the print version). In fact, there’s no difference in my self-published book than any other book found at the bookstore. It looks like the real deal because it is the real deal. The great thing about self-publishing is that I can print as many books as I want (I usually print them in batches of thirty) or I can print as few as one book – and for a reasonable price. The more books you print, the less they cost, and the more profit you can make.
The self-publishing company that I use has the ability to help you create your books by offering graphic design and pagination services. You need only provide your manuscript. But if you have the resources, like Adobe InDesign and Photoshop, you can create your entire book on your own by following their step-by-step instructions. They’ll even help get your book out in the real world by providing marketing support and submitting your book to online book retailers.
The best thing about self-publishing is that you retain all of your rights and, if your book sells, make more money off of the royalties. But self-publishing isn’t only for beginners and wannabe writers. Have you ever heard of Hugh Howey? He is a very successful author who chooses to self-publish – all of his books are in the top 100 on Amazon. The book, “Eragon,” by fifteen-year-old Christopher Paolini was self-published by his parents before it was made into a film. Storytelling guru, David Mamet, is going to self-publish a book in 2014 and Jim Carrey self-published a critically acclaimed children’s book in 2013. In fact, according to data gathered by Bowker, in 2013 there were nearly 400,000 ISBNs assigned to self-published titles. ISBNs are those bar codes found on the back of every book. Bowker data also suggests that self-publishing is a gamble. Self-published authors can expect to make from $0 to thousands of dollars per month in sales, with the median income from sales to be under $500. But even if you self-publish your book just to give away for free there’s an intrinsic feeling that comes with seeing your words in print that cannot be rivaled. So, if you’re like me and want to use the education and expertise that you’ve gained here at USFSP to showcase your work, try self-publishing!