I was delighted today when I found out that there is in the works a Self-Publishing Book Expo(http://www.selfpubbookexpo.com/) and even more delighted that it will be happening in Manhattan, a train ride away from my Long Island digs. I will admit that ten years earlier, I probably would have rolled my eyes at the idea, but without a doubt, the time has come.
Like most people, I once mistakenly equated self-publishing with vanity publishing, since the author was not only not getting an advance, but having to cough up their own money to see their dream realized. In addition, self-publishing meant that the book was quite likely poorly written and unedited. As it turns out, quite often that had been the case, which gave self-published writers a tough time to be taken seriously. Now, though, most self-publishers have services for their authors that include editing and promotion. Full disclosure, I am on the advisory council for Author Solutions. In addition, I do a lot of publicity and marketing for self-published authors. That said, my novel, my, a-hem-multi-award winning novel-Without Grace, and my award-winning book The Author's Guide to Planning Book Events were both published by iUniverse. Admittedly, the novel was published gratis and I was paid a nice sum to write "The Guide." Still, I found the whole experience to be gratifying and I know that part of the reason why is because I understood the business. It is the author who has little idea of what to expect, while believing they should be booked on Oprah, not to mention get rich from the sales of their book, who will be disappointed.
So, why now? Why has self-publishing become a respectable alternative? For the simple reason, or maybe not so simple reason, there are thousands of deserving writers who cannot get an agent or editor, and it's not because their book is unworthy. I recently was in a conversation with a wonderful literary agent who bemoaned the fact that she turned down many book proposals that were well-written and smart, but were lacking in one thing: a platform. Well, the good news is the author who needs a platform can now use the self-published book as the springboard to proving him or herself to the industry. Maybe it makes sense that they pay their dues in order to garner that long-awaited advance from a traditional publisher once they prove that they have a market.
Yes, there's a lot to learn, but now authors can attend self-publishing conferences and that upcoming book-expo without feeling embarrassed or reluctant in order to become educated about the process. The book expo is not until November 7th, but there is also a writer's conference happening next week at the New York Center for Independent Publishing (http://www.writersconferencenyc.org/) where I'll be moderating a self-publishing panel. I'd love to see you and answer your questions about self-publishing, an alternative whose time has come.