Updated 03/25/2009 03:38 PM
Self-Publishing Is Not A Last Resort For Authors
In this tough economy, self-publishing your own book could help increase your cash flow. NY1's Technology reporter Adam Balkin.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
Ten years ago, David Carnoy starting writing his first novel, "Knife Music." Only a few months ago, he finally published that novel online.
"I actually had a lot of luck getting a high-powered agent and then
having some close calls with traditional publishers and then crickets after that. So what do you do?" says Carnoy.
As executive editor at the technology website CNET.com, Carnoy always knew that self-publishing was an option, and looked into several of the dozens of do-it-yourself websites.
He found they vary greatly in cost and service and that different sites are better fits for different authors, depending on how professional they want the book to look and how many they plan or hope to sell.
"The self-publishing market had changed a lot with Amazon getting so huge," says Carnoy. "The fact that you could have your book on the same page as a [John] Grisham book was a big change for self-publishing."
However, don't be fooled into thinking that being paired online with Grisham will bring in Grisham's sales figures. Carnoy says the average self-published book sells about 100 copies, mostly to family and friends.
"You really have to think in terms of it's really not about making money. It's about actually getting people to read the book," says Carnoy. "It's really difficult to get people to read books these days so I put it out there for free on the iPhone, for free on the Sony Reader, and for not so much money on the Amazon Kindle. And then you have the print version out there."
Carnoy's literary agent, John Silbersack of Trident Media Group, says that self-publishing is not always a last-ditch resort for books neglected by traditional publishers.
"If it's an excellent book, it's bound to find a readership, whether it's self-published or backed by a very large firm," says Silbersack. "In fact, there are numerous instances of traditional publishers looking to mine successfully published self-published books."
Self-publishing may cost more than traditional publishing, but authors do retain the rights and total control over the book's sale every step of the way. Authors also get a bigger cut of the profits... assuming there are profits.