Everyone loves a success from scratch story, and I am no different. I have been reading about authors that are beginning to self-publish. This trend has traditional publishers nervous to say the least. I can completely understand publishers’ concerns about losing their authors and book sales. For the authors, I completely understand why they are beginning to push into the self-publishing space. Why give a majority of the proceeds away from the book sales to the publisher and deal with the creative differences between the author and the business side of publishing when the Internet and e-books are readily available.
A case in point to consider is Amanda Hocking. She is a twenty something author that has successfully published several e-books and generated more than $1 million in personal revenue from her book sales. She is making a serious name for herself and has her own author page on the Amazon bookstore. This is a true success from scratch story, and I love her approach and tenacity to pull off what, just a few years ago, would have been impossible. She has broken into that small select group of published authors without a traditional publisher.
Amanda Hocking has also recently signed a book deal with a traditional publisher according to her blog. I am sure some of her readers question this decision. I have read several blog posts and comments that have been less than flattering with her decision to work with a large publisher. In her blog post, she outlines the reasons for her decision, and I agree with them as do most rational people. I think Amanda has a bright future as an author, and businessperson, and is demonstrating good decision-making to bring her work to a wider audience. I believe that she will continue to be a successful self-publishing author as she says, but she will also have projects that use the power of a major publisher to reach greater audiences and commercial success. This should be admired and not criticized. I will actually be purchasing a few of her books for my daughter to read.
EDIT: I am late to this game. I found a few of her books on my eldest daughter’s Kindle.
Another author I admire is Penelope Trunk. She has a very successful blog and has founded three Internet startup companies. She is a published author in newspapers, magazines, and books. I thoroughly enjoy her blog as she writes exactly what is on her mind with minimal filtering. I find this style of writing to be refreshing and unabashedly honest. It also goes greatly to her strength of character and personal fortitude. When someone lays bare his or her entire life for the world to read, and comment on, it certainly takes an immense amount of inner strength. That or they never read any of the comments people leave.
Penelope has distilled much of her writings about careers into a self-published print version. It is one thing to digitally publish a book and make it available via Amazon and other e-book retailers with minimal personal capital at stake, but when you have to outlay personal investment to go to print it takes the publishing experience to a new level. Penelope sold her book through her blog and had her book printed and bound. Again, this is a leap considering she could have gone back to her original publisher who printed her first book for a deal on her current book. Penelope would have certainly maximized her revenue potential with a traditional publisher being the publisher would put marketing efforts behind the book and paid her an upfront fee.
EDIT: Please read her March 28th post on self-publishing. It is excellent and insightful.
I find the traditional book printing. but not publishing, process increasingly appealing. I am a very, and I mean very, big fan of e-books. I buy almost no traditional print books anymore. The value of having all of my books on various electronic devices is incredibly valuable and liberating. Not to mention, I have gained substantial bookshelf real estate. Recently, I have gotten to the point where I am beginning to miss a printed book. I do not know if I would ever swing back to purchasing mainly traditional print books, but I have ordered a print book this month that I would have normally just bought on my Kindle. I am sure I will find a happy balance between print and eBooks over time like most other consumers.
I love the idea of self-publishing and not beholding to the filtering and editing of a publisher who is interested in maximizing sales. Self-publishing authors, whether digital or in print, have the ultimate gift of creative freedom. They can literally write whatever they wish and put it out there for the world to read. My hat is off to them, if I wore one, and the strength and courage they have. I hope to see this trend continue and more authors that are independent emerge onto the literary scene. Look at Amanda, she would have never been able to bring a literary work to the world had she not self-published. Look at her results now after taking that drive and initiative. If that does not get you stirred up to take a little more action in your life then you may have is water in your veins and lead in your posterior.