How does self-publishing differ from traditional publishing?
Self-publishing's biggest difference, from the author's standpoint, is that the entire burden of producing a quality end-products rests on the author's shoulders, as does getting the book into the marketplace and promoting it once it's there. Yes, there are services (in particular, Print-on-Demand services) like Lulu.com and CreateSpace that can help you with many of those things, but still the burden lies on the author to make good choices and, in the end, it's still up to the author to spend the time and effort required to market the book. This can be a daunting task, but for those prepared to take it on, also a very liberating one.
Do self-published book review blogs help to raise the reader awareness of self-published books?
They can, and many do. However many of these blogs are short-lived endeavors with small readerships, in essence themselves self-published. The impact they make on reader awareness is subjective, and varies from one blog to the next. I generally try to research the places I submit to for reviews, be they blogs, ezines, etc. A savvy author must learn to look for those review sites that are best suited, and most useful to, spreading the word and promoting your particular book.
How do you respond to the following statement?--Self-publishing is not a serious way to get one's work into print now and never will be.
I strongly disagree with this statement. Firstly, with the growing market for ebooks, print is slowly becoming a less significant marketplace. Secondly, while of course it is harder to get a book out into the marketplace when one self publishes, it is not only possible, but has been done. If one is strictly talking about getting the book "in print" (sales and distribution aside), then with the advent of Print-on-Demand Publishing, getting one's book into print is extremely easy. The critics of self-publishing might even say it's become too easy, in fact, since the quality of the writing doesn't always hold up to the quality of the book itself.
Has the golden age of self-publishing already passed or is it yet to come?
The "golden age," in my view, is when self-published authors are able to compete on equal footing with the mainstream publishing houses, and are therefore empowered with full control over their books and a greater profit margin on each book sold. And that time isn't in the past, it's happening right now.
What about the challenges posed to the self-published writer by having to promote and edit his or her own book?
It's a challenge to be sure, which is why anyone considering self-publishing needs to understand what they are getting themselves into before committing to it. I find that a lot of authors self publish first, and then learn how different it is from traditional publishing too late. But neither problems of promotion or editing are insurmountable, and one can (and probably should, if at all possible), get help with those things, particularly editing. I think the most important things are that: a) You must take those two elements of self-publishing seriously and be prepared to tackle them head on, whether you do it yourself or seek help; and b) If you are not prepared to take on these challenges, then you should seriously reconsider self publishing. As high as I am on self-publishing, I've also learned that everyone isn't suited for it.
Why is it that a self-published author has yet to emerge into national recognition as a self-published author? (As opposed to being given a mainstream publishing contract after a self-published book attracts attention.)
It depends on how you consider that question. I do know that I have seen self-published authors featured on nationally broadcast programs in the past. But unfortunately, to achieve real success requires two things that most self-published authors don't have: Large promotional budgets and access to prominent media sources like The New York Times Review and Publisher's Weekly. The only difference between self-published authors and the 10s of thousands of people who try out for American Idol is that there is no such show for authors that can suddenly put you into the National spotlight. But it has to also be pointed out that acquiring an agent and/or traditional publisher and then achieving national recognition is also a monumental task.
Has the experience of self-publishing changed the way you write? (If you have self-published.)
I don't know if it's changed the way I write, but as a writer who enjoys writing short stories, I am much more free to publish collections of my work, which, as I understand it, is harder to get accepted by a traditional publisher unless you are already and established "name" in the industry. I would hope that if self-publishing had any effect on how one writes, it would be to work even harder to produce a quality product, since we self published authors do still have to work for greater acceptance in the marketplace. Fortunately, the advent of devices like the Kindle and how it's further empowered authors to get their works in the hands of readers, is providing authors with a growing level of success and acceptance among readers.
- Greg Banks, BDDesign LLC - The Self Published Author's Best Friend
* BDDesign Online - www.bddesignonline.com
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* BDDesign Art Gallery - http://bddesign.imagekind.com
* BDD Tees - http://www.cafepress.com/BDDtees