Cupcakes for the event this afternoon… If you’re in Boulder or Longmont, be sure to stop by and enter the costume contest!
1.They finish something
If it’s true that a significant proportion of the population feel they have a book in them, or that getting a book published is the second most common New Year’s resolution, then it’s odd how few people seem to prioritize the writing bit. One of the first disappointments of the newly published is the response to their achievement from those who have not yet completed anything: ‘I’m going to do that one day’ or ‘Lucky you to have the time’ being particularly annoying. If you are planning to self-publish it is a prerequisite that you have finished something to make available – and that’s admirable.
2. They take responsibility
My definition of self-publishing is the taking of personal responsibility for the management and production of work. It doesn’t have to be for wider circulation, or even to make money, but the taking responsibility is crucial. This is brave. For me the whole process of letting go of even an edited manuscript is difficult; knowing the next time I see it I will only spot mistakes.
It’s also personally risky. Work made available is not always received in the same spirit as which it is shared – you can attract attention from correspondents who, perhaps because they seldom use their real name, feel empowered to destroy your sense of yourself as a writer. This can be hard to recover from.
3. They’re resourceful
Research shows that many of those dubbed self-publishers are in fact operating in small teams, buying in services as needed. Support has been variously obtained: from friends and colleagues; paid for support; some via the internet. 59% of my research cohort had used an editor and 21% had taken legal advice.
Being self-published does not absolve you from paying careful attention to the legal issues behind sharing content, and committing libel or infringing copyright may be very real dangers which self-publishers must manage themselves.
4. They identify new markets
It’s becoming a relatively common phenomenon these days for work to locate, and reveal, a market through self-publication – and then once the project looks less risky, for it to find more traditional investors. Self-publishers have drawn attention to previously overlooked demand (memoirs, fantasy and soft porn being particularly good examples). But a new market does not have to be vast, or public, to matter – many self-publishers have taken care of content they valued, and ensured it will be discoverable by their families and friends in the future, should they want to know. Worth doing, I say.
5. They are mutually supportive
The motivations of self-publishers are various, and range from those who identify instinctively with the freedom (principally the lack of mediation) self-publishing allows, decide to proceed in this way because they feel bruised by continual rejection from the traditional industry – or have never tried to find an external publisher.
Whatever their starting point, they seem to be a remarkably supportive bunch. The personality of the writer has been investigated, and we are apparently notorious for jealousy; one person’s success necessarily being viewed as diminishing the opportunities of others – or as Gore Vidal so memorably put it: ‘Whenever a friend succeeds, a little something in me dies.’ But attend a meeting of self-published authors and you will experience something quite different – the atmosphere of mutual encouragement is palpable. Self-publishers will share information on the process, freely offer the names of suppliers they trust, and seem genuinely pleased for each others’ success.
In conclusion, self-publishers are adding energy to the industry, spreading an understanding of the processes involved – and hence helping to diversify the workforce, revealing new markets and new ways of reaching them, experimenting with new patterns of writing (the ‘hybrid author’; team writing), creating employment opportunities (several of our alumni now run their own editorial services companies) and endorsing the personal fulfilment that comes from writing – even if the destined audience is entirely personal and unaware of the project in progress."
You shop at local businesses. You eat locally-produced food. Why not read local literature?
~Keep more of your money in your community.
~Reduce fuel pollution associated with shipping.
~Support local authors, editors, and publishers.
Things you can do to show support for local lit:
~Ask your local independent bookstore to carry more local lit.
~Ask your local library to carry more local lit.
~If you have a favorite local author whose books you usually buy from Amazon, contact them and ask if they’ve asked about stocking their books at local bookstores. If they can’t, ask about buying their books directly from the author. This way, more of your money stays in your community than if you bought through Amazon.
~Tell your friends about your favorite local authors.
~Tell your friends about the importance of reading local lit.
Check us out on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/readlocallit