My friend has written a book about her experience of going through Alzheimer Disease with a loved one. She expressed her quandary in choosing how to get the book published. She said, in so many words, that she was impatient to spend the time it took to go through the process of finding a publisher who might like what she has to offer, but that others in her writing circle had, “planted seeds of doubt that I wasn’t being “professional” by self publishing.”
Well, honey, first off, self-publishing is not anything new, and I doubt the likes of Benjamin Franklin, William Blake, or James Joyce would consider it unprofessional. They each at one time published their own work. Such a thing was common back in their day. And Anthony Hope, who wrote The Prisoner of Zenda, (and goodness knows that’s had at least two movies made of it. I recommend the one with Douglas Fairbanks Jr., so hokey and so delightful). One modern book was The Joy of Cooking, by Irma Rombauer. Amazing.
There is room for it all–traditional publishing and indie publishing. What writers and readers are given by the indie publishing is more options and creativity. There’s nothing unprofessional about that.
Back in 1999, when self-publishing was very much denigrated, (certainly the Journalism School at the University of Oklahoma, where I attended, frowned heavily on the idea), I decided to publish my small novella, Miracle On I-40. Computers and desktop publishing were coming on like gangbusters, and a number of us romance genre writers decided to band together to help each other and formed The Author’s Studio. A few of the writers had books their current publishers did not want to publish because the stories did not fit their ‘guidelines’, meaning they were too original. A couple wanted to, and did, develop their own publishing houses, a number successfully running today. I myself wanted to see my book published in a lovely way, with beautiful font and styling. I’m mad for fonts.
The result of my passion and daring was the small, soft-cover edition of Miracle on I-40. I used Adobe Pagemaker and did every bit of the formatting, and I found a cover artist who did a sweet job, an artist who did beautiful illustrations, and a printing company in Nashville that went beyond friendly and helpful. While it took a few years, I did earn back my investment plus a bit more. For me, the process was invaluable.
In 2005, I re-sold the rights to Miracle On I-40 to Mira Books, which produced the book in a hardback gift edition. After only one season, the publisher again let the book fall out of print and languish, forgotten.
More years went by, until finally I was able to once more secure the rights to the book and publish it as ebook with Belgrave House, which, by the way is one of those author publishing houses begun back in 1999 and now publishes many a best-selling book.
Had I not followed the path of my own indie publishing back in 1999, Miracle On I-40 would today still be forgotten. I have had so many wonderful letters from readers on the book that make me glad for stepping out and going my own way. It is my plan for the coming Christmas to have it into print-on-demand with Createspace, too. But I have so much to learn!
The reasons to indie publish are as varied as writers themselves. For myself, independent publishing gives me control, joy in the creative act with cover art, too, and the adventure of seeing what I can do and where I can go. It’s all good.
Sometimes you have to step out to find out. ~ Joyce Meyer