Brave New (Writing) World: Do It Yourself

It looks like self-publishing is becoming, well, respectable. Why do I think that? Easy. The New York Times says so.

Now I don’t slavishly believe everthing I read in the Times, but one thing I’m sure of: When they write seriously about something that they’ve mostly mocked in the past, it means that phenomenon is no longer marginal. And the article takes it seriously. Regular Sunday magazine columnist Virginia Heffernan says:

[S]elf-published books are not just winning in terms of numbers but also making up ground in cachet. As has happened with other media in this heyday of user-generated content, last century’s logic has been turned on its head: small and crafty can beat big and branded.

Like I said, respectable.

Of course, I doubt self-published books have become respectable enough to get reviewed in The New York Times, or to be considered for its best seller lists. But still, recognition is a start.

The goal of a lot of the self publishers still seems to be to land a contract with a publishing house, but it’s clear that books are getting discovered that way. And there’s a lot of advice out there about how to do it right. Contradictory advice, some of it, but advice.

For one thing, the term self-publishing is disappearing. The new phrase is indie publishing. The Indie Reader website looks like a good place to start discovering what’s actually available out there.

And if you’re looking to do your own publishing, April Hamilton has a book, The Indie Author Guide. She’s one of those people who landed a book contract after self publishing — her book will be out soon in a new edition from Writer’s Digest Books.

David Carnoy, who self-published a novel, Knife Music, is another writer who has had his indie book picked up by a publisher. He wrote on CNET about his experience, detailing both the work he did and the money he spent.

I suppose Book View Cafe can be considered part of the indie publishing movement. We’re bringing out our own original ebooks as well as bringing back out of print books. But I like to think of us as part of the catholic publishing movement (that’s catholic with a small “c,” meaning universal, not the Catholic Church): We’re willing to explore any reasonable form of publishing out there.

Still, it’s nice to think that our indie publishing side is starting to become respectable.

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Nancy Jane’s novella, Changeling, is now being serialized on Book View Cafe. You can start at Chapter 1 here; a new chapter will be posted every Sunday. An e-book edition of the whole book will soon be available for a modest price.

And you can still find 51 flash fictions and a few other stories on Nancy Jane’s Bookshelf.

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