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Between the pages, Past
A Mystery Column
By Dennis Collins

Self Publishing

I’m assuming that many of the people who read these columns are aspiring writers or perhaps they’re folks who just want to write but are intimidated by the tangle of the publishing industry.

When I began writing there were fewer publishing options available. If an author couldn’t get the attention of a mainstream agent or publisher, there was always the subsidy alternative or the upstart “print –on-demand” path. I chose the POD route. Today it would have definitely been one of the plentiful self publishing options.

Self published authors don’t have the benefit of the powerful distribution networks available to the major publishing houses but the challenges and demands of promotion are not terribly different. You’d be as much on your own with Harper-Collins as you are with Create Space when it comes to spreading the word and cultivating a following. I’ve been published by Print on Demand, by mainstream, traditional publishers and I have self published. When it comes to promotion they’re all about the same.

The big thing is that once you have a book published, you have something to hold in your hand and to show other people… and you can say, “I wrote it, I’m an author.” You’ll have a book with a cover and pages full of words just like Hemingway had. It’s up to you to eloquently put quality thoughts on those pages just like it was up to Hemingway. Surely it’s a daunting challenge but don’t let it scare you. The critics said that Mickey Spillane’s work was trash but it was insanely successful.

The electronic market offers even more exciting possibilities. It’s the fastest growing segment in the literary world and it’s yours for the taking. The only investment you need to make is the time to learn the computer skills required to do the formatting.

Of course it’s not quite as simple as it sounds. You’ll want to present a professional looking product and that will likely involve finding some skilled partners in your endeavor. But cost control remains up to the author. You can go as elaborate as your budget allows. However… It’s still the writing that will determine your degree of success.

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2012 Past Columns