Ed: Last year I was asked by Writer’s Digest Magazine to contribute an article to their big publishing issue, and I was happy to oblige. It turned into a fairly long article that became a feature in the magazine. Writer’s Digest doesn’t publicly distribute these articles right away to keep their content exclusive to subscribers, and that makes a lot of sense. Now, a year later, they’ve posted it on their web site where it’s available to the public. Since I’m busy getting ready for a trip to Denver, here’s the beginning of the article with a link to the rest. If you have comments—and I would welcome them—please leave them here on the blog.
Did you know that at one time, many books in the U.S. were actually published by their authors? It wasn’t until book publishing consolidated in response to industrialization and grew into a national industry that publishing your own work fell into disrepute. Eventually it came to be seen as the last-gasp effort of writers who couldn’t find publishers willing to put money behind their manuscripts.
But technology doesn’t care about what came before, and there’s no better example of this than the incredible resurgence of interest in self-publishing—and the rapidly disappearing stigma against it. In recent years, book publishing has been thrown into a state of almost constant change by three disruptive advances: the spread of the Internet, the rise of digital printing and print-on-demand distribution, and the mass adoption of e-books. These factors will continue to remake the publishing world in more profound ways than anything since the invention of the printing press more than 500 years ago. And while the opportunities presented are exciting, the abundance of constantly shifting options can be overwhelming.
So what’s a writer to do now? That’s the question that confronts you when, having read the amazing stories of authors who’ve made it on their own, you start to consider taking the leap into self-publishing. Here are four simple strategies to help you on your way.
Evaluate the latest options to find the best approach for your individual needs.
What is the dream you have for your book, or for your writing career? What exactly would make your book a success in your own eyes? Do you see this as a sprint for the top, or a well-plotted journey that could take years?