Famous Authors Who Self Published
What do Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King, Beatrix Potter, Pat Conroy, Nikki Giovanni, and Marcel Proust have in common? They all published one or more of their manuscripts themselves. Proust, for example, paid to publish the 1500 pages of Rembrance of Things Past. Conroy, who in my opinion, is one of the best writers currently writing and who wrote the immensely popular The Prince of Tides self-published his first novel, The Boo.
At one time, being a self-published author meant that you were less than. Less than a “real” writer. You were a second-class author. You were an author who couldn’t find a New York publisher for your book.
Control over Content
These days, though, many authors are choosing to go the self-publication route. One author told me that she prefers having control over her work. Another writer told me that since he would have to do as much publicity and promoting his book if he had a New York publisher, he might as well do it and make more money doing it.
Of course, being self-published means that no one is giving you an advance of any amount. But then, as my friend pointed out, no one is telling him to change the gender of his protagonist or delete three chapters in the middle of the book or change the title to something that makes no sense considering what the book is about.
Cost of Self Publishing
Self publishing is not free, either. If you want to be successful, you need to hire someone to design a cover for your book, you might even hire a freelance editor to ensure that the typos are gone, the grammar is correct, and the book flows. One self-published author estimated that he spent $3000 to self-publish his book. In these days of economic hardship, who has $3000 not already earmarked for something else?
Then there is the time-consuming promotion of your book. While you’re promoting your current book, you’ve got no time to write the next book. Should you wait until you have a small library of books written before you self-publish your first one?
In The Writer magazine (June 2010), Judy Gruen, author of Women’s Daily Irony Supplement (2007), said, “Today, all authors must self-promote vigorously, but self-published authors must do it like they’re on steroids.”