Thursday, June 26, 2008

Self-Publishing in the 21st Century

"No army can stop an idea whose time has come." --Victor Hugo

Despite naysayers and criticism from those entrenched in traditional publishing bureaucracy, self-publishing is here to stay as a viable publishing option. The technology is here, the desire is fueling the revolution and this industry is experiencing a wake-up call in a big way. Last year, 400,000 books were published (up from 300,000 in 2006). The industry saw approximately 195,000 new titles and between 8,000 and 11,000 new publishers, mostly self-publishers. Does this sound like a passing fancy to you?

My husband saw the same resistance in his photography business when digital technology started replacing film. Some photographers he knew dug in their heels and refused to learn about the new equipment. Most of them are out of business now, of course. I don't understand why people are so resistant to change.

For those of us who write, the digital print-on-demand (POD) technology is like a birthday present. Don't refuse the gift before you've had a chance to try it on for size. The beauty of POD printing is that you can economically print one book at a time, so now people who just want to publish a cookbook as a fundraiser for their organizations or a memoir for their families can do so and still have money left to donate to charity or leave to the grandkids.

On a larger scale, POD technology provides an opportunity for millions of people who feel they have an important message they want to share with the world to do it without waiting the two to four years it typically takes an author to move through idea to published book via traditional methods. This doesn't mean self-publishers should run roughshod over all rules and practices that traditional publishing has forged in the process or--as the saying goes--throw the baby out with the bath water.

Success in any business requires an education. To help you learn more about your options, I'm going to be focusing on self-publishing and POD technology in upcoming weeks. I began last week with an article written to dispel some of the popular misconceptions about self-publishing. My next post will contain Part 2 of busting through the myths.

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