Self-Publishing: The Greening of American Authorship.

Via on Jul 21, 2010

The Reclaiming of Individual Perspective

In the world of book writing, self publishing has, until recently always fallen under a keenly scrutinized category. Many people will discredit a self published author as someone who didn’t make the cut: to be published by a bigger book firm. So, for many self published authors it’s been kept as a “dirty little secret.”  But there are several reasons why self publishing is ideal for authors and consumers alike.

When you write a book you lay down a lot of time and a little piece of your soul. When I wrote my book, “Prenatal Yoga; Finding Movement in Fullness,” I was pregnant with my last son. Because I knew I wouldn’t have any more children, I was eager to put voice to that perspective and I was incredibly driven by all my gestational energy. After all I was creating a child, how hard is a book, in comparison? Turns out, pretty stinkin’ hard. It took me a year; half my pregnancy and into the postpartum. I had, however,  always planned on self publishing the finished product.

I had many reasons for choosing self publishing. The first and foremost is it was easy. Well,  that is and isn’t true. It was as easy as formatting allowed. It was a painfully tedious process to format a book with the limited software I had. Createspace, the company I used, offers little-to-no guidance. But, in essence, if you can create a PDF you can create a book.

The second reason for choosing self publishing: the author retains more control over the finished product and  more royalties. The downside? Being a self-promoter will never be as successful as corporate book publishers.  But if we consider for a moment that big-book-business only publish what they think will sell, it’s not hard to conclude that there are many voices not being heard. By self publishing, an author is creating their art for the mere sake of creation. It may or may not sell, but profit is not an immediate goal.

The expense and waste that goes into traditionally publishing a book is enormous. A publisher creates a product that it has to then get rid of. And that’s not even accounting for the number of rough drafts and proofs that are generated before a product is approved and printed. The book is made, the book is sold (or not sold) and one way or another the book is eventually disposed of. The very least a traditional book publisher can hope for is to print enough books to make the cost affordable to consumers and hopefully recoup the investment.  This is not the same story in self publishing.

Most self publishing is “print on demand.” The concept is pretty simple: only enough product is created that is actually demanded by the consumer. This requires less financial investment on the part of the creator and creates less by-product (paper, ink, packaging, fuel) and subsequent waste. Simply put: if the only product produced is that which is wanted, we can view self publishing as a greener, more eco-friendly alternative to big-book publishers.

As a consumer it is important to understand there are some downsides to the self-published book. First, standards and quality vary. Take the time to preview your product before you buy it. Second, buy from a reputable source to ensure you actually receive your product. Self published authors are available at local bookstores and trusted websites like Amazon.com.

If you are interested in becoming a self published author, there are a great many options. Take the time to research a lot of different companies. Some companies require you to pay an upfront cost in exchange for a package. Others ask for no investment on the author’s part and will simply take a greater portion of the sale price of the book.  Also, expanded distribution to big retailers and websites will cost you more.  Do your homework and know your options before you commit and be prepared to handle all your own public relations.

If you do decide to self publish, let me know. I’d love to hear your trials and successes. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be the next great American novelist.

See Famous Self Published Authors.

About Candice Garrett

Candice Garrett is a yoga teacher, writer, foodie and mother of three from Monterey, California. She is author of "Prenatal Yoga: Finding Movement in Fullness," assistant to Female Pelvic Floor Goddess Leslie Howard and director of the Nine Moons Prenatal Yoga teacher training program. Candice teaches yoga, prenatal yoga and pelvic health with workshops nationally. You can find her teaching schedule at Candice Garrett Yoga or her love of food at The Yogic Kitchen

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17 Responses to “Self-Publishing: The Greening of American Authorship.”

  1. This is a really good read for me, Must admit that you are one of the best bloggers I ever saw.Thanks for posting this informative article.

  2. ontheissues says:

    I may just try self publishing when I finish writing my current novel. Thanks for the tips, this article was really informative.

  3. Good advice, Candice. I have had some experience with self-publishing, both with my own books and CD's and with my wife's book. Lulu is also good. Thanks.

    Bob Weisenberg
    ElephantJournal.com

  4. CarolynW says:

    I self-published. What a long hard road of learning. Too many to hurdles and lessons to list here. Would I do it again? YES! (I used Create Space too.) I wrote my book in Word, formatted it and saved it as a PDF. It was a 90 day goal that took 20 months.

    • candice says:

      Carolyn! A labor of love itsn't it?! I would do it again. I actually have anther book I'm working on and have shopped it out. It's been 5 weeks and still no word. Do I send it to another publisher? Wait? Who knows? In some ways self-publishing is easier. For my first book, it wasn't about creating a stylized product. It took a long time to do and when I was done I couldn't even look at it for a whole other year!

  5. I recently edited a book for a spiritual teacher who was told by “everyone” (including me at the time) it would be nearly impossible for his self-published book to be seriously considered by a large traditional publisher. Our first conversation stays with me, because it resembled the classic moment in “Dumb and Dumber” when Lloyd is probing Mary to find out what the chances are that she would actually be with him:

    Lloyd: “You mean not good, like 1 out of 100?”

    Mary: “I’d say more like 1 out of a million.”

    Lloyd: “So you're telling me there’s a chance. Yeah!”

    Continually, this author’s non-conformist attitudes revealed to this “seasoned editor” how all of my conditioning from working in publishing and heeding the advice of “experts” online represented limiting concepts—which would only remain true if I continued to agree with them.

    Lo and behold, this author landed a contract with a major publisher.

    The world is your mind manifest. That includes the publishing world. Anything is possible.

  6. candice says:

    I love it Penelope! That idea is where I'm living my life from right now and amazing things are happening. No one is holding me back but me, right? I love it. Great story, thanks for sharing!

  7. Janet says:

    Enter text right here!Way to go, Candice. I'm proud of you. Love, Gramma

  8. candice says:

    Aw thanks Grandma

  9. Auntie Carol says:

    Have told many of my friends about your book. You must be very proud of what you have accomplished! A friend who teaches yoga to children here in Salem at Indigo Wellness Center is excited and is ordering a copy.
    Blessings and good luck with future projects. AC

    • candicegarrett says:

      Thanks Auntie! I have contacted Indigo in the past about teaching there. It would be a lovely reason to come visit !

  10. candice says:

    Candice is back!

  11. Helene Rose helene_rose says:

    Hi Candice,
    Great info! I am in the midst of self publishing my book "Blessed Womb, Inspirational Poems to Warm and Heart & Womb." I am glad that I will print what on need, create my own pdf. I love having creative control over my book and how it will look. I find that I have a market through social media online, facebook, etc.
    Enjoy your day,
    Helene

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