Sunday, 19 August 2012

Sunday August 19, 2012 Fifty Shades of Self Publishing

In the last few months, the world of books has changed dramatically. EBooks are outselling printed titles in both the United States and in Great Britain and the rest of the world seems destined to follow.  Add to that an originally self published novel based on a piece of Twilight fan fiction has become one of the fastest selling novels of all time. Whether you love, hate or are completely indifferent to the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy by E. L. James, it may just change what gets published and how it gets published for the foreseeable future.

The New York Times has begun featuring an eBook bestseller list and more than once the titles there are outselling the titles on the print list, but of equal importance is that a number of bestselling eBook authors featured are unknown writers who have self published their own books, avoiding the traditional model of agents, editors and print.  Currently, there are four independent authors in the top 25 list.  Colleen Hoover is in eight place with her eBook, “Slammed”, which is a love story about a girl and a slam poet.   Hoover’s book is outselling established authors such as James Patterson and Karin Slaughter, so it’s not surprising that her success has earned a traditional book deal with Simon & Schuster. 

Self publishing isn’t new and a number of bestselling books in both fiction and non-fiction categories were originally self-published before they were embraced by both the conventional world of publishing and by the public at large.  Kindle has its own self publishing arm called Kindle Direct, Kobo has just announced a publishing division called “The Writer’s Life” and other eBook producers are expected to follow. Not to be outdone, many major publishing houses from Penguin Books to Harlequin Enterprises are pursuing new and independent authors wanting to self-publish. The real success story of the new eBook self publishing boom has been Smashwords, whose free publishing and distribution site has dominated the wave of new electronic book bestsellers.  So should your inner muse be calling, here are of the few self-published bestselling books to inspire you.

The Celestine Prophecy”, by James Redfield; “The Christmas Box” by Richard Paul Evans and “Eragon” by Christopher Paolini all began life self published.  Redfield sold over 100,000 copies of his book from the back of his car before it was sold to Warner Books, and it spent 165 weeks on the bestseller lists.  “The Christmas Box” took Evans only six weeks to write, so he decided to publish and promote it himself.  It sold so well that Simon and Schuster purchased it for 4.2 million dollars. “Eragon” the first in the Inheritance series was written by Paolini as a teenager and published by his parents, who owned a small independent press.  The book sold 425,000 copies before being bought by Random House. The series has currently sold in excess of 33 million copies.

If fiction isn’t your forte, then perhaps you could write the next non-fiction bestseller.  There have been self published hits on every topic under the sun, from diet books like “Sugar Busters” which was written by four Louisiana doctors and has sold over 2 million copies, to inspirational books like Betty J. Eadie’s “Embraced by the Light” which spent over 209 weeks on New York Times bestseller lists.  John Cassidy sold over 2 million copies of his book, “Juggling for the Complete Klutz”. He used the money to found Klutz Press which has published 50 bestsellers so far.

So, if you feel it’s time to see your name in print, the shelves at the library are full of books for writers. We have everything you need, from inspiration, exercises and practical tips, to help with grammar. 

Lori Kauzlarick

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