When I began writing for a living several decades ago, publishing your own book was considered a last resort. Something you did after exhausting all other dignified possibilities. There were a spattering of companies to choose from that all carried the pejorative term “Vanity Press.” As if publishing your own book was self-serving, a disrespectful act of vanity. Clearly, this was before “selfies” became a household word.
The word “Vanity” was iffy when I was growing up. My mother said it was vain to look in the mirror, admire myself or talk about myself in an approving way. An amazingly beautiful woman, my mother also had dignity and grace, but if you ever gave her a compliment, she would rebuke it. When my father called her a “good-lookin’ tamata” and said she looked like a young Cloris Leachman, she would flick her wrist as if to throw the compliment away. Made of stoic New England stuff, when anyone said she and I looked alike, she would call me “the improved version.” She abhorred appearing vain.
And so, the term “vanity press” meant that although couldn’t get a book deal, you were stooping to getting it published yourself even though it probably wasn’t very good. I’m grateful that times have changed. These days, there are a variety of self-publishing companies which are considered a great way to put out your work. And in some cases, the preferred way. I’ve witnessed authors turning their back on legitimate publishing deals and going the “Self-publishing” route to retain control of their projects.
This is the reason I’m self-publishing my book called “Memoirs of a Ghost.” Along with the fact that waiting around until some agent reads your material and decides whether its good or bad is as abhorrent to me as vanity was to my mother. Doing it myself also allows me to make my own decisions about content, the cover, the interior, the marketing copy on the front and back and how I want to attract public awareness. Not to mention that I, the author, make about four times as much money per book than going the traditional route.
When I told friends and clients that I was going the self-publishing route, they showed great interest in the process. And so, I decided to share my discoveries in a series of blogs to answer people’s questions and to begin a conversation about how to self-publish, using social media and word of mouth to create and distribute a product that I believe will inform and entertain my readers.