Writers with Intentions: Passion and Perseverance in Self-Publishing

Posted on October 10, 2014


downloadI didn’t hear of self-publishing until 2010 when I found Gary LaBuda on HelloPoetry.com. HelloPoetry.com used to be a forum for poets to share their work, discuss poetry, receive feedback, and self-publish their works in e-book format. HelloPoetry no longer incorporates self-publishing on its website, but it remains a helpful way to enter the poetry world.

As a poet and fellow frequenter of HelloPoetry, Gary LaBuda gave me constructive criticism as well as praise for my work. His poems were imaginative and professional. He was the unofficial leader of a group of online poets who were trying to make their way onto bookshelves. I found out that he self-published his poetry; not through HelloPoetry but through his own company. Since LaBuda wasn’t getting the recognition he wanted, he created his own company and became self-published.

Unfortunately, a problem for many self-published authors is the lack of appreciation they receive for their works. They can be ignored or forgotten among the many other authors that are published by traditional publishing companies each year.

However, self-publishing can be a beneficial decision for writers who have been rejected by traditional publishing companies or have a topic that suits self-publication. If a writer is working on a memoir or a personal book of poems, self-publishing could be a more legitimizing route to take. Traditional publishing contracts are difficult to come by, and once a writer snags one, it can take over two years to get a book published. With self-publishing, the writer chooses the speed at which to take the publishing process. If the writer has enough passion, he or she can get a book out to the public in under a year.

Self-publishing can also give the writer more money than if he or she worked with a traditional publishing company. In the process of self-publishing, many of the original parties from traditional publishing are cut out and replaced with the author. Traditional publishers will give writers a specified percentage of the royalties from their book sales. Self-published writers receive a larger percentage of the sales.

Of course, those sales depend on who distributes the book, who reviews it, and who sees advertisements for it—all actions which result from the writer’s expenditures. Self-published authors will spend more money on getting their books in people’s hands or e-readers than getting their books initially published. There are also more risks in self-publishing, because the writer cannot know if the book will sell or not.

However, there is significantly more freedom for the self-published writer. He or she can choose the format of the book and even create the cover art. If the writer is not talented in this field, he or she can hire graphic designers for a cheaper price than a traditional publishing company would charge to do the same work.

Many people suggest still using copy editors for your self-published book to ensure you produce a well-written product worth buying. It’s worth the money to have another pair of eyes look at your work and be upfront with you about it.

The most frequently self-published genres are fantasy, mystery/horror, sci-fi, (auto)biography/memoir, and religion. Niche genres tend to work best so writers can create a community around an idea instead of striving for a level of credibility in the writing world. Famous examples of self-published works include Ezra Pound’s A Lume Spento, Christopher Paolini’s Eragon, and L.Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Some of these were later published traditionally after receiving a large amount of praise.

Earlier this year, I had the privilege of attending a lunch with poet Paul Muldoon. Muldoon is a Northern Irish poet who has been actively writing and making music since the ‘70s. He has created an individual, recognizable style for his poetry and work as a whole. Along with a few other creative writers, I discussed how poetry is perceived in the 21st century and what poets can do about that perception. Muldoon mentioned how prevalent self-publishing has become in the poetry world and how it doesn’t come with the same stigma of self-importance that it used to.

Self-publishing of any kind is empowering. The writer is in charge of every aspect of the book. It can be costly, and it may not earn the writer a fortune, but it’s a chance worth taking for a writer who wants to work independently and be respected as an individual.

Anine Sus, 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.

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