News / USA

More New Authors Turn to Self-Publishing

Self-published books outnumber those released by traditional publishers

Multimedia

Audio
Faiza Elmasry

More and more authors are taking control of their future by self-publishing their work. In fact, more books are self-published than are issued by traditional publishers, according to Bowker, which compiles publishing statistics.

Patricia Ruth, author of 'Holly Heights,' found marketing her self-published book more challenging than writing it.
Patricia Ruth, author of 'Holly Heights,' found marketing her self-published book more challenging than writing it.

Self-publishing means you not only write the book but take on production and sales as well. In earlier centuries, most publications were self-published, but over time the role of author and publisher became separate.

However, in the last few years, given the difficulty of finding a traditional publisher, a growing number of new authors have chosen to bypass traditional publishing and do it on their own.

"Holly Heights" is Patricia Ruth's first novel. “It’s a slice of suburban life and a story everyone can relate to,” she says.

After she finished writing and editing her novel, she was eager to see it in print. “I did try to go the traditional publishing route by sending inquiries to agents and publishers.”

It was a long, frustrating and, ultimately, unsuccessful process.

“I’m a member of a very popular club of authors that get rejected by agents and publishers," she says. "I’d get rejections from agents. It would come on a strip of paper, maybe two inches long, not even the courtesy of a full page letter. It’s outrageous the stuff you get back."

However, despite the setbacks, she was still determined to be published and a visit to a book fair inspired Ruth to do it on her own.

“I saw that there was so much going on with self-publishing and empowering authors," Ruth recalls."You know I felt it was very doable.”

The first step was to discover how to go about it.

”It’s as easy to start as just Googling the word ‘self-publishing’ and you’ll see that there is quite a number of companies that do provide self-publishing services," she says. "It's really very simple.”

CreateSpace, a subsidiary of Amazon, is one company which provides self-publishing services.

"One of the key challenges for authors is coming up with their cover," says Libby Johnson McKee, managing director of CreateSpace. "We’ve created a tool called ‘a cover creator,' which allows you to use some of our preformatted templates to create your own cover. Once your title is finished and ready for production, we then produce that book, print on demand."

However, marketing a book is often more challenging than writing it.

“My recommendation is to start local," Ruth says. "In my community, my local bookstore has a table for local authors. So it’s a matter of getting them to pick your book, maybe do a book signing. I did one. You want to write a press announcement and send it to local radio, TV and newspapers."  

Self-publishing has its limitations, according to Lorin Rees of Rees Literary Agency. He represents authors to traditional publishers.

Margaret Hollister's memoir, 'Inheriting China,' was self-published rather than being released by a traditional publisher.
Margaret Hollister's memoir, 'Inheriting China,' was self-published rather than being released by a traditional publisher.

“Obviously self-publishing gives a lot of control to authors and allows them to fulfill their goals without having to go through a pretty difficult, tiresome and lengthy process and rejections," he says. "However, there are limitations to self-publishing particularly distribution, packaging, editorial support and credibility."

Margaret Hollister, who self-published "Inheriting China," a memoir about growing up as the daughter of missionaries in China in the 1920s and 1930s, agrees.

“It’s impossible, very, very stressful, so much work and so expensive," she says. “Maybe you write naturally. Maybe that’s a natural thing for you. Publishing and formatting a book and trying to find a market, all that, that is not natural. You need to learn that just as you would learn a profession.”

Editor David Minckler helped Hollister publish her memoir and warns others who want to follow her example to be prepared.

“I’d say they would have to learn some software and be pretty good at it," he says. "They should know enough to be able to scan pictures, organize a text and proofread.”

Digital technology has made it easier for authors, especially younger ones, to self-publish. However, Minckler believes writers will continue to prefer traditional publishers.

“A lot of self-published books seem to be pretty trivial and really not of much interest to a wide audience," he says. "So if you're talking about a wide audience, I think established publishers will continue.”

CreateSpace managing director Johnson McKee agrees that the traditional publishing industry will always be there. However, she believes self- publishing is here to stay.

“Since 2002, the growth of independent published books is over 8,000 percent," Johnson Mckee says. "So there is really a movement in the industry because anyone who wants to tell their story can be out there. I think that trend of democratization of the publishing process will continue.”

As more writers learn the process, Johnson McKee says it will become more affordable which, in turn, could attract more people to self-publishing.

You May Like

Photogallery Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid