“Self-publishing represents the future of literature. Its willingness to experiment, it’s greater speed to market, it’s quicker communication with the audience, its greater rewards and creative control for creators, its increasing popularity all augur for the continued expansion of self-publishing and its place as the likely wellspring for our best new works” (LaRue, 2014, para. 13).
The self-publishing movement is alive and well in public libraries across the nation, especially within the fiction genre. In a recent American Libraries magazine article, “Solving the Self-Published Puzzle,” Langraf lists several public libraries acquiring self-published books to develop their collections with local authors and with works of regional interest.
I think of how this movement will grow among other types of library communities, and most importantly, how self-publishing technology has made it possible for all of us to publish and access high-quality digital and print resources. Will academic librarians assist teaching faculty to publish their own digital textbooks? Will creative writing classes add an eBook publishing component into their curriculum? Will special library collections, archives, or museums use these online platforms to create wonderful monographs or documents of archived material that will reach a greater audience? The possibilities are endless.
What was most interesting to me while reading the American Libraries piece is that libraries are including independent publishing advice and guidance workshops in their makerspace areas. The freedom of becoming a self-published author comes with a to-do-list: cover illustrations, ebook format conversion (EPUB, MOBI, etc.), online editing, metadata, price and royalties, contracts, and creation of website and social media outlets for marketing purposes. These are a few of the many things to think about. Much needs to be learned and librarians can become proficient in these areas in order to create their own creative projects or assist patrons in self-publishing. It is refreshing to see that an author can trespass the gatekeepers of publishing to get their project published and that our profession can make this phenomenon more accessible to our communities.
We can convert writers into authorpreneurs, a term I recently discovered (McCartney, 2015). The speed of publishing is awesome – no waiting. A project can appeal to a particular audience not accessible through traditional routes of publishing. If the author is interested, indie writers have platforms to get picked up by renowned publishing houses and agents. Traditional authors may also make a plunge into self-publishing. The attraction for librarians is that the published books can be distributed through platforms like Overdrive currently being used by libraries. In addition, eBook publishing sites make it possible for users to view their item on several mobile devices through apps or eReaders. The file type conversions to become readable in all devices are done by many of the organizations listed below.
I have recently become fascinated by the self-publishing movement and plan to write more about the ongoing developments. I have yet to read my first self-published book and plan to do so soon. For now, I leave you with some resources that may help you begin thinking about how to use self-publishing to serve your communities and create innovative ways to expand your library services.
The Self Publishers Association
52 Novels: https://www.52novels.com/
Tools and services that help you complete your book and make it available to millions of potential readers
Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)
KDP EDU: https://kdp.amazon.com/edu
KDP Kids: https://kdp.amazon.com/kids
and many more genres…
Barnes & Nobles Nook Press
The Book Designer: http://www.thebookdesigner.com/
EBook Architects: http://ebookarchitects.com/
Inscribe Digital: http://www.inscribedigital.com
Kobo Writing Life: https://www.kobo.com/writinglife
Ingram Spark: https://www.ingramspark.com/
Project Gutenberg Self-Publishing Press: http://self.gutenberg.org/
Indie Title Reviews
Libraries struggle with indie market collection development. It is not readily available in the usual book review sources heavily used for mainstream titles– so the librarian is left to search within blogs and other social media outlets to learn of new worthy titles for purchase. Please find a list of self-publishing collection development resources for libraries/readers below.
Indie Reader: http://indiereader.com/
PW Select: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/authors/pw-select/
SelfPublishing Review: http://www.selfpublishingreview.com/
Friedman, J. (2015). Helping indie authors succeed: What inde authors need to know about the library market. Publishers Weekly, 262(39), 52.
Gross, A. (2015). Digital winners in the bay area. Publishers Weekly, 262(24), 18-20.
Landgraf, G. (October 30, 2015). Solving the self-published puzzle. American Libraries Magazine. Retrieved from http://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2015/10/30/solving-the-self-published-puzzle/
LaRue, J. (2015). From maker to mission. Library Journal, 140(16), 41.
LaRue, J. (2014). The next wave of tech change. Library Journal, 139(16), 47.
McCartney, J. (2015). A look ahead to self-publishing in 2015. Publishers Weekly, 262(3), 36-38.
Peltier-Davis, C. A. (2015). The cybrarian’s web 2: An a-z guide to free social media tools, apps, and other resources. Medford, NJ: Information Today.
Palmer, A. (2014). What every Indie author needs to know about e-books. Publishers Weekly, 261(7), 52-54.
Quint, B. (2015). So you want to be published. Information Today, 32(2), 17.
Scardilli, B. (2015). Public libraries embrace self-publishing services. Information Today, 32(5), 1-26.
Staley, L. (2015). Leading self-publishing efforts in communities. American Libraries, 46(1/2), 18-19.