From Jane Eyre’s Red Room to Christian Grey’s. . . Why and How Does Someone Self-Publish?

Posted on August 16, 2013


imagesFifty Shades of Grey has sold over 70 million copies worldwide. If you are someone who may not have read any of the Fifty Shades novels, you’ve definitely heard of them. What most people do not know is that E.L. James, the author of the Fifty Shades trilogy, could not get a single publishing house to back her. Knowing she had written something amazing, she chose to self-publish. Fifty Shades of Grey was first released via eBook in May 2011. Seeing how large the demand became, Vintage Books, a small chapter of Random House, decided to pick up the trilogy for print. The Fifty Shades trilogy has now become the fastest selling adult series of all time.

In the past, self-publishing was not done often, considering the fact that it can become quite costly. Printing costs alone could break the bank for some writers. Then one must still consider editing, cover art, and copyright costs. With the invention of eBooks, self-publishing is now almost free.

Stephanie Meyer, author of the Twilight series, had dreamed of being a writer. One day, she pushed all her daily chores aside and decided to start writing about a dream she had the night before. She sent out 15 copies of her manuscript to publishing agents. Five rejected her and five never replied. Only one showed interest and I’m sure the rest are regretting it now. But what would have happened if everyone had rejected her? Would she have decided to self-publish?

Now, self-publishing isn’t just for “mommy porn.”  It is for any writer who chooses to publish without the help of a 3rd party publishing company.  L. Frank Baum self-published The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, a timeless classic which people of all ages and backgrounds love. Many people give up once they are discouraged, forgetting the drive and passion they had to write a novel in the first place, instead of looking at self-publishing as an option.

Here are some tips for those who are considering self-publishing:

  • Ask Opinions. Have a few people read your novel. Ask for their opinions, if they would change anything or build more on any individual characters. Try to get as much feedback as possible from people you trust.
  • Obtain Copyrights. Once your novel is written and has been edited several times, have it copyrighted! If you were to put your work on the Internet without a copyright, anyone could claim it as his or her own work. This can be done at  Prices begin at $35 and can go over $220. This depends on how you are filing (paper or electronic), what state you are in, and what exactly the copyright is for.
  • Obtain an ISBN Number. It’s a 13-digit code that allows retailers to search for your work in a database with all the latest novels that have been released. This can be done at A single ISBN number can range from $25 to $125, depending on whether you are publishing your work in print or online. Price breaks are given if multiple ISBN numbers are purchased together.
  • Promote Yourself. With self-publishing, you have to keep in mind that it’s up to you to do all the marketing and advertising. If you’re working with a low budget, social media works wonders. For every person you know, they know another 250. Promote yourself that way and build a demand for your novel via word of mouth.

Remember why you wanted to write and don’t forget it. Don’t let the fear of failure hold you back. Think about whether self-publishing is for you. Any genre of literature can be self-published, and it’s up to you to let your readers know it’s there for them. If E.L. James hadn’t decided to self-publish, the only red room we would be reading about is Jane Eyre passing out in her dead uncle’s red room, not Christian Grey’s “red room of pain,” and his BDSM fetish.

Tamika Ureña, Writer and Editor, Asta Publications

Asta Publications has a long history of helping writers tell their stories and get published. Since 2004, Asta Publications has helped hundreds of authors bring their book concepts to life and we are ready to help you too! Our dedication to our authors is unmatched. We deliver first-class products and services that are accurate, high quality, and exceed our authors’ expectations.

Posted in: Publishing