Nearly 30 years ago, during my early career in publishing (although it was in another arena), self-publishing didn't enjoy the reputation it does today. Back then, it was more like, "Oh, no one would publish it, eh?" The unspoken words hinted that perhaps your writing wasn't good.
Nevermind that independent authors (as I like to call them) have probably been around since the beginning of time. After all, before publishing became big business, books were produced and printed by small independent operators. Still, most authors, at one time or another, have wondered what it's like to receive a big advance, accompanied by national, if not worldwide radio and television appearances, not to mention having lines of eager buyers snaking around bookstore corners.
With today's printing technology and available world-wide editorial and graphic design talent, it is not difficult to achieve a New York look on a small budget. Mixed with a good marketing plan and old-fashioned persistence and perservere, it has never been easier to make in-roads in the publishing arena. Now, instead of having boxes of books for furniture, one can use just in time printing to meet inventory for speaking engagements and to fulfill online orders.
Fast forward 30 years and Orna Ross, founder and director of The Alliance of Independent Authors, states, "Half or more of the books on Amazon’s daily bestseller lists are now self-published. At The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi), we have many members who have sold more than 100,000 books and some who have sold in their millions. Many others are producing work of outstanding literary merit. Corporate publishers and agents now scour self-publishing sites, hoping to woo writers away from the indie option."
Ross continues, "Your talented new writer, if he or she took a little time to learn some basic ways to reach readers, would begin to climb the ratings. It takes a little work but it’s not difficult — and many trade published writers are being encouraged by their publisher to use the same methods. From the reader’s perspective, it’s a simple matter to download a sample and try before you buy. They also have independent reader reviews to go on, a book, description and author bio that probably clicks through to the author website. It’s may not be a perfect system but it’s getting better all the time — and it makes good books and authors considerably more discoverable than the old bookshop browsing method."
The bottom line is self-publishing is here to stay. It is a viable alternative for new and established authors. Every business owner, pastor, or ministry leader should have his or her own published material as an extension of their work. The quickest way is via this route but your success is in your hands.