Young Bill Young here. The Vanity Press industry has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. I suppose most people still raise an eyebrow when they find out a book has been self-published, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to automatically assume the book must not have been “good enough” to be picked up by a “reputable” publisher. After all, the “reputable” publishers are going through some tough times.
More than 120,000 books are published in the U.S. annually, and apparently 80% of Americans want to write a book according to a Jenkins Group Survey. (I wish 80% of Americans wanted to read a book!) It can be tough to get the big publishers to consider your manuscript (some would say it always has been), and the vanity presses have moved in to expand opportunities. And, of course, these days they’re giving you another option: digital publication.
Careful, though. There be dragons here. With e-books, DIY publishing can really be do-it-yourself. And that’s why you need to do your research before you send your book out into cyberspace. Take Apple’s recent announcement that you can publish your very own tome for distribution through their iBookstore. American Libraries magazine has provided some links to help you take care of some important things first (like getting and ISBN number and conforming to e-pub standards). Venture Beat tells you how to get on the iBookstore (and, thus, the iPad) for less than $200. And here’s this cautionary tale from David Gewirtz.
I know, I know. It’s always been important to read the directions before attempting something. Anyone who’s assembled a bicycle Christmas Eve knows this. But it’s just so darn easy to click that submit button on a computer. It just makes me nervous! So read, read, research, research before you head down this road. Your library can help with that. (Plug! Plug!)