Self publishing has been a respected way to launch a career for more than a century.

vanity or self publishing?Let’s call this meeting to order. First we’ll have roll call:
Mark Twain, Thomas Paine, Virginia Woolf, William Strunk and Gertrude Stein – all are here.

Yes, it’s a real who’s who of famous authors. But that’s not the reason for this meeting.
E. B. White, Edgar Allen Poe, e.e. Cummings, Rudyard Kipling and Deepack Chopra – present and accounted for.

There’s one thing that all these authors – and many more – have in common. This next group might tip it off:
Vince Flynn, DH Lawrence, E.L. James, Amanda Hocking and J.A. Konrath – all are in the house.

Have you figured it out yet? OK – here’s the answer: These authors are just like many of you reading this. They all self published books at various points of their literary careers.

For many of these greats, self publishing gave them their start. Poe self-published his first book, Tamerlane and Other Poems. While New York Times bestselling author Vince Flynn was employed as a bartender he completed his first book, Term Limits, which he then self-published.

More recently Amanda Hocking was the first break out author of the eBook generation. Employed as a group home worker until 2010, she wrote 17 novels in her free time, self-publishing them all as eBooks. By March 2011, she had sold over a million copies of her books and earned two million dollars from sales.

Others turned to self publishing later in their careers. In fact Virginia Woolf’s final novel, Between the Acts, was self published in 1941.

We talk about self publishing as the “new” wave of book publishing. And yet the concept of DIY publishing has been around for over a hundred years. It was commonplace, an acceptable – even respected – form of launching a book. At some point, self publishing lost popularity and respect. Writers going it alone evolved into the concept of vanity press. It likely coincided with the rise of the traditional book publishing industry. You now had authors, agents, publishers and book stores in lock step.

Seemingly everything old in publishing is new again. Yet in some ways, eBooks and the associated technology are still very much in their infancy. For most prospective authors, the technology available with enhanced eBooks is still far ahead of the content it could be fulfilling.

Many in the industry believe there has never been a better time to be a writer for so many reasons:

  • For the very first time since movable type was invented, authors can control their own destiny if they so choose. Writers have the opportunity to focus on producing the best work they can for an audience they strive to reach.
  • The internet provides a two-way communication link between authors and readers and is changing the way books are written. This interactive dialogue can help shape and improve books during the writing process.
  • The way we choose to deliver our words can be as thoughtful, expressive, and creative, as the words themselves. Your reasons and method of publishing don’t have to be the same as anyone else on this planet.

Now you too can rub shoulders with the literary elite when you choose self publishing.

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Steven Spatz

About Steven Spatz

Steven Spatz has written 78 posts in this blog.

Steven Spatz is an author, marketer, and the President of BookBaby.