From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article
Self-publishing is the publication of any book or other media by the author of the work, without the involvement of an established third-party publisher. A self-published physical book is said to be privately printed. The author is responsible for and in control of the entire process, including, in the case of a book, the design of the cover and interior, formats, price, distribution, marketing and public relations. The authors can do it all themselves or outsource all or part of the process to companies that offer these services.
The key distinguishing characteristic of self-publishing is that the author has decided to publish his or her work independent of a publishing house. In the past, self-published authors had to spend considerable amounts of money preparing a book for publication, purchasing bulk copies of their title, and finding a place to store their inventory. Print-On-Demand and e-book technology have allowed authors to have a book printed or digitally delivered only when an order has been placed.
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".
Technological advances have enabled this growth:
|This section requires expansion. (December 2012)|
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.
There are a variety of E-book formats and tools that can be used to create them. 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. 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.
Print-On-Demand (POD) publishing refers to the ability to print high-quality books as needed. For self-published books, this is often a more economical option than conducting a print run of hundreds or thousands of books. 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.
The term 'vanity publishing' originated at a time when the only way for an author to get a book published was to sign a contract with a publishing company. Reputable publishing companies generally paid authors a percentage of sales, so it was in the company's interest to sign only authors whose books would sell well. It was extremely difficult for the typical unknown author to get a publishing contract under these circumstances, and many 'vanity publishers' sprang up to give these authors an alternative: essentially, they would publish any book in exchange for payment up front from the author. The term "vanity publishing" arose from the common perception that the authors who paid for such services were motivated by an exaggerated sense of their own talent.
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 line between vanity publishing and traditional publishing has, however, become increasingly blurred in the past few years. Currently there are several companies that offer digital and/or print publication with no up front cost. However, most of these companies also offer add-on services such as editing, marketing and cover design. Self-publishing companies that fit this model include CreateSpace (owned by Amazon.com), iUniverse, and Lulu. An author who simply hands his or her book over to one of these companies, expecting the company to make it a bestseller, would meet the previously established definition of vanity publishing, but it's unclear how many authors fit this description. Further blurring the distinction between self-publishing and traditional publishing was Penguin's purchase in 2012 of Author Solutions.
Increasingly, then, vanity publishing is being defined as a behavior rather than a set characteristic of certain companies or individuals, although there remain a handful of companies that clearly qualify as vanity publishers. These are companies that offer the cachet of being published and make the majority of their income on fees for intangible services paid for by the author, rather than sales revenue. These companies are also known as joint venture or subsidy presses.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (May 2008)|
Contemporary authors have also self-published.
|What Color is Your Parachute?||Bolles, Richard Nelson||Later published by Ten Speed Press|
|Chicken Soup for the Soul||Canfield, Jack||With Hansen, Mark Victor, co-author|
|Golden Handcuffs||Courtney, Polly|||
|The Christmas Box||Evans, Richard Paul|
|Spartacus||Fast, Howard||During the McCarthy era when Fast was rejected by previous large scale publishers|
|Invisible Life||Harris, E. Lynn|
|Eragon||Paolini, Christopher|| Later published by Knopf|
|In Search of Excellence||Peters, Tom|
|Elfquest||Pini, Wendy and Richard|||
|The Celestine Prophecy||Redfield, James|
|The Joy of Cooking||Rombauer, Irma S.|
|A Choice, Not An Echo||Schlafly, Phyllis|||
|Shadowmancer||Taylor, G. P.||Later published by Faber & Faber|
|The Visual Display of Quantitative Information||Tufte, Edward|
|Poems in Prose||Wilde, Oscar|
|The Wonderful Wizard of Oz||Baum, L. Frank||Later published By Reilly & Lee|
|Wool||Howey, Hugh||Later published By Simon and Schuster|
|The Shack||Young, William P.||First million copies published by Windblown Media; subsequently on New York Times best seller list.|
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (May 2014)|
Musical performers often self-publish, or "self-release" their recordings without having access to record label resources. While some acts who enjoy local or small scale popularity have started their own labels in order to release their music through stores, others simply sell the music directly to customers, for example, making it available to those at their live concerts.
In the years since the Internet became prominent as a medium for publicizing and distributing music, many musical acts have sold their recordings directly over the Internet without a label, either through their own websites or from third party websites. In some cases the sale takes the form of a physical CD or LP that is shipped to customers, while more sales today are beginning to take the form of downloads. Several musicians who first found prominence recording for record labels have recently attracted wide attention for self-releasing records online, among them A Day to Remember, Brian Eno, Frank Ocean, Nine Inch Nails, and Radiohead.
Polly Courtney [...] made money self-publishing her novel, Golden Handcuffs, in 2006. [...] Courtney now has a three-book deal with HarperCollins [...]
|Wikiversity has learning materials about Collaborative_play_writing|