Self-publishing

Sources:

  • OCA Book Design 1 Course Guide by Christian Lloyd pp92-94
  • OCA Photography 2 Landscape by Jesse Alexander pp157-162,
  • Wikipedia and followup on web links therefrom.

Self-publishing is where the author publishes their work independently from a publishing house.  It is seen as a means for authors and designers to ‘take back the power’ and enjoy a creative independence in the writing, design and printing of books.

Self-publishing is not new – artists books and vanity publishing have a long history as a means of challenging the power of the large publishing houses. But in the twenty-first century the rise of digital printing on demand and electronic publishing have enabled self-publishing to become much more widespread. In 2008, for the first time in history, more books were self-published than those published traditionally. In 2009, 76% of all books released were self-published, while publishing houses reduced the number of books they produced. According to Robert Kroese, “the average return of the self-published book is £500”.

Artists Books

As part of the Arts and Crafts movement at the end of the 19th Century, early English small presses were used by authors/artists to express their vision through the craftsmanship of book design, and enjoy ownership of the design and production process as a whole.

In the 1970s Fanzines  emerged as a counter-cultural response to the aesthetics and associations of mass commercial book production…(more here)

Some artists and designers are producing different types of artist books, rediscovering the craft and skills inherent in traditional printing processes such as letterpress and returning to a more physical relationship and contact with print, using materials and processes of the pre-digital age, such as photocopying and hand- binding.

Print on Demand

Print-On-Demand (POD) technology can produce a quality product equal to those produced by traditional publishers – in the past, you could easily identify a self-published title because of its quality. Many companies, such as Createspace (owned by Amazon.com), Lulu and iUniverse allow printing single books at per-book costs not much higher than those paid by publishing companies for large print runs. Most POD companies also offer distribution through Amazon.com and other online and brick-and-mortar retailers, most often as “special order” or “web-only” as retail outlets are usually unwilling to stock physical books that cannot be returned if they do not sell.

Vanity publishing

Vanity publishing differs from self-publishing in that the author does not own the print run of finished books and is not in primary control of their distribution. The term ‘vanity publishing’ originated at a time when high publishing costs meant profits were only possible on large print runs, so companies only sign contracts with authors whose books would sell well. ‘Vanity publishers’ aimed to give authors an alternative: they would publish any book in exchange for payment up front from the author. The term “vanity publishing” reflects a perception that the authors paying for services had an exaggerated sense of their own talent.

The line between vanity publishing and traditional publishing has become increasingly blurred in the past few years. Some companies (known as joint venture or subsidy presses) offer digital and/or print publication with no up front cost and make the majority of their income on fees for intangible services and add-on services (such as editing, marketing and cover design paid for by the author), rather than sales revenue. Self-publishing companies that fit this model include:

  • CreateSpace (owned by Amazon.com)
  • iUniverse
  • Lulu
  • Author Solutions purchased by Penguin in 2012.

 Electronic (E-book) Publishing

Technological advances with e-book readers and tablet computers that enhance readability and allow readers to “carry” numerous books in a concise, portable product. Because it is possible to create E-books with no up-front or per-book costs, E-book publishing is an extremely popular option for self-publishers. Some recent bestsellers, such as Hugh Howey’s Wool series, began as digital-only books.

The challenge is the multiplicity of E-book formats and different software needed to create them and keep them updated for reading. The most popular formats are epub, .mobi, PDF, HTML, and Amazon’s .azw format. Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords all offer online tools for creating and converting files from other formats to formats that can be sold on their websites.

Copyrights and risk

Self-publishing and vanity publishing are not necessarily the same business model.

  • A self-published author employs a printer (publishing) to operate a press, but retains ownership of copyrights, ISBN’s, the finished books and their distribution.
  • A vanity press or subsidy publisher retains some of the rights,usually including ownership of the print run and control over distribution, while the author bears much or all of the financial risk.

Both models share a common characteristic of shifting risk and primary editorial control to the author; both encounter the same issues of lax editorial control. This differs from the conventional model (royalty publishing) in which a publisher pays an author an advance to create content, then assumes full control of the project and any commercial risk if a tome sells poorly. Also excluded is sponsored publishing, where a company pays an author to write a book on its behalf (for instance, a food manufacturer marketing a cookbook written by outsiders or a hobby materials supplier publishing a book of blueprints).

Unless a book is to be sold directly from the author to the public, an ISBN number is required to uniquely identify the title. ISBN is a global standard used for all titles worldwide. Most self-publishing companies either provide their own ISBN to a title or can provide direction; it may be in the best interest of the self-published author to retain ownership of ISBN and copyright instead of using a number owned by a vanity press.

(More here on copyright issues)

List of self-publishing companies

The following is a Wikipedia list of some of the notable companies that provide assistance in self-publishing books, provide print on demand services as publishers or operate as vanity presses.

AuthorHouse

Books LLC controversial American publisher and a book sales club based in Memphis, Tennessee. Books LLC publishes print on demand paperback and downloadable compilations of English texts and documents from open knowledge sources such as Wikipedia. Books LLC’s copies of the English Wikipedia are republished by Google Books. Titles are also published in French and German respectively under the names “Livres Groupe” and “Bücher Gruppe“. Books’ publications do not include the images from the original Web documents but, in their place, URLs pointing to the Web images.

BiblioBazaar


Blurb, Inc.
Bob Books
CafePress
CreateSpace


Famous Poets Society
Greyden Press
iUniverse
Kobo Writing Life
Lightning Source
Lulu


Notion Press
Outskirts Press
Poetry.com (also known as the International Library of Poetry)
PublishAmerica

Samizdat

Small press

Smashwords
Tate Publishing & Enterprises
Trafford Publishing
Vantage Press
Xlibris


Xulon Press
Wattpad

Resources

Publishers Weekly (4 April 2010). “Self-Published Titles Topped 764,000 in 2009 as Traditional Output Dipped”. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
Robert Kroese. Self-Publish Your Novel: Lessons from an Indie Publishing Success Story.
http://www.isbn-us.com/blog/2014/03/12/isbn-information-frequently-asked-questions/
RICH, MOTOKO (28 February 2010). “Math of Publishing Meets the E-Book”. New York Times. Retrieved 9 May 2013.
Rosenthal, Morris. “Print on Demand Publishing”. Retrieved 9 May 2013.
Neuburger, Jeffrey D. (10 September 2008). “Court Rules Print-on-Demand Service Not Liable for Defamation”. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
Greenfield, Jeremy (19 July 2012). “Penguin Buys Self-Publishing Platform Author Solutions for $116 Million”.
Christina Patterson (18 August 2012). “How the great writers published themselves”. The Independent (London). Retrieved 17 August 2012.
Paull, John (2011). “The making of an agricultural classic: Farmers of Forty Centuries or Permanent Agriculture in China, Korea and Japan, 1911–2011”. Agricultural Sciences 2 (3): 175–180. doi:10.4236/as.2011.23024.
“How To Self-Publish A Bestseller: Publishing 3.0”.
The Guardian (27 March 2012). “Pottermore conjures Harry Potter ebooks”. London. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
Brown, Helen (2010-01-08). “Unleash your inner novelist”. The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved September 16, 2011. “Polly Courtney […] made money self-publishing her novel, Golden Handcuffs, in 2006. […] Courtney now has a three-book deal with HarperCollins […]”
Saichek, Wiley (September 2003). “Christopher Paolini interview”. Teenreads.com. Retrieved 2009-01-31.
Elfquest.com
Lane, Frederick S. (2006). The Decency Wars: The Campaign to Cleanse American Culture. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books. p. 99. ISBN 1-59102-427-7.
Rich, Motoko (2008-06-24). “Christian Novel Is Surprise Best Seller”. The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-06-24.
External linksEdit

Self-publishing at DMOZ
Wikiversity has learning materials about Collaborative_play_writing
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List of self-publishing companies
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American Biographical Institute[citation needed]

Mark Levine. The Fine Print of Self-Publishing. Retrieved 2014-07-13.
April Hamilton. The Indie Author Guide: Self-Publishing Strategies Anyone Can Use. Retrieved 2014-07-13.
Irina Webster, William Webster. How to Become a Successful Author:: 34 Steps to Self-Publishing. Australian Self-publishing Group. Retrieved 2014-07-13.
Dan Poynter, Danny O. Snow. U-Publish.com 4.0: A ‘Living Book’ to Help You Compete With the Giants. Unlimited Publishing LLC, Dan Poynter, Danny O. Snow. Retrieved 2014-07-13.
Marilyn M. Moore (2012-06-17). The Self-Published Cook: How to Write, Publish, and Sell Your Own Cookbook. Retrieved 2014-07-13.
“Self-Published Titles Topped 764,000 in 2009 as Traditional Output Dipped”. Publishersweekly.com. 2010-04-14. Retrieved 2012-04-23.
Sterlicchi, John (2008-02-20). “Self-publish boom challenging old order”. The Guardian (London).
“The 101 most useful websites”. London: Telegraph. 2009-11-12.
Rosen, Mike (2009-03-02). “MediaShift . 5 Great Services for Self-Publishing Your Book”. PBS. Retrieved 2012-04-23.
“Greyden Press”. Dayton, OH. 2014-10-06.
Biswas, Venkata Sausmita (2012-02-12). “Publishing for dummies”. The New Indian Express (Chennai).
Torpey, Jodi (2007-07-15). “Outskirts Press brings unpublished writers into the mainstream”.
Wikipedia ® Mobile‌Desktop
Content is available under CC BY-SA 3.0 unless otherwise noted.
Terms of UsePrivacy