Welcome back, Reader.
As we’ve discussed in previous posts, there are two main ways to publish your work – traditionally and by yourself. Today. I’d like to briefly take a look at self-publishing with you.
A Brief Overview . . .
Have you heard of authors Amanda Hocking or E.L. James? Many have wondered how they came to their success since their books are known by millions. Perhaps you do, but for those of you who don’t know, Amanda Hocking and E.L James are the authors of the Trylle trilogy and Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, respectively. The short answer is this: not through traditional publishing methods. Instead of publishing their work in the traditional way (with the help of a big publishing company with publishers, agents, and editors), they chose to self-publish.
So, what is self-publishing, and how do you go about it?
Self-publishing is when an author publishes (a book) using his or her own resources, per Merrriam-Webster dictionary. Many people look to self-publish their work because it greatly minimizes time and cost. Many digital or e-readers favor these types of books. Additionally, publishing your work as an e-book cuts out the whole printing process and makes your book easy to access internationally. (McLachlin)
In a research article written and put together by Aarthi Vadde titled Contemporary Literature and the Digital Publishing Scene, she remarks that platforms such as Kindle and Figment, which were once economies of amateur writing, are now contenders in the larger market of online and traditional publishing houses. Their constant development makes them fierce competitors in the “digital literary sphere” as Simone Murray, author of “Charting the Digital Literary Sphere,” put it.
In particular, Amazon Publishing has only been growing and is a great platform for authors looking to share their work. The company made an appearance most recently at the 2019 BookCon held in New York City.
Mentioned in a Publishers’ Weekly article written by Jim Milliot, United States Publisher Mikayla Bruder feels that Amazon’s incredible outreach balances out the loss of traditional physical book-selling opportunities, although there are 19 Amazon Book outlets. Through Amazon Publishing, over 40 authors have gained more than one million audience members in digital, print, and audio sales. This count also includes borrows through Kindle Unlimited, which is a subscription that allows you access to larger libraries from the Kindle Store.
Diversity in Publishing
How well are mainstream and smaller publishers doing when it comes to diversity? After comparing the Big Five and several small, independent publishers, researchers found that results are skewed or ambiguous across published lists.
However, the proceeding case studies author diversity among the Big Five publishers and small self-reliant publishers. Although we can see social media platforms have influenced publishing by ensuring diverse books are available to readers, statistics were pulled from a reader’s nonpartisan list to see which publishers are supporting diverse authors and ensuring their books reach audiences everywhere.
In a 2018 research article titled Who is Publishing Diverse Books Best?, our researchers share that they turned to Goodreads, a social cataloging website for books, annotations, and reviews, to peruse a fair arena where books by small publishing companies and diverse authors have better representation than those of the Big Five publishers on virtual shelves. When readers like a book on Goodreads, they’ll create their own best-sellers list. Consequently, Goodreads has promise to become the place where the push for diversity is so clearly chrono-logged.
While hoping that we are moving towards better author and character representation in the publishing and literature worlds, we are still able to find such authors/characters. Diverse self-published authors have been able to get their name and work out there, such is the case with Sergio De La Pava, an American author whose family came from Columbia. For more examples of famous diverse authors with self-published books, and self-publishing in general, please, refer to Brianne Alphonso’s article from ElectricLiterature.com.
Share Your Thoughts!
So, there you have it – some thoughts and research findings on self-publishing and representation of diverse authors (in the self-publishing realm, of course). If you were to publish your work, would you prefer self-publishing over traditional publishing? Why or why not? Did one stand out over another? Which would you suggest and why? Clearly, there are several advantages for authors who self-publish, although the decision is completely up to the author and how he or she feels about the amount of control over allowed his or her work.
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