Visual Encyclopedia

Self-publishing

Self-publishing is the publication of any book, album, or other media by its author without the involvement of an established publisher. Unlike the traditional publishing model in which control of the publication is shared with a publisher, the author controls the entire process in a self-publishing effort including the design of the cover and the interior, price, distribution, marketing, and public relations. The authors can do all of these activities by themselves or they may outsource these tasks. Self-publishing is not limited to physical books, but includes pamphlets and brochures, as well as digital media such as e-books and websites. In traditional publishing, the publisher bears the costs, such as editing, marketing, and paying advances, and reaps a substantial share of the profits; by comparison, in self-publishing, the author bears all of these costs but earns a higher share of the profits. In common parlance, the term usually refers to written content in book or magazine form, in physical media such as paper or in electronic form, but theoretically it could apply to the self-publishing of video content or zines or uploading of images to a website.

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Now that it's easy to self publish, many authors seem to jump to soon to services to put their book in the world. Here are four questions to ask before taking that leap. These can also apply to authors seeking agents to help them find a publishing company.

Contributed by Sammo Lea

What some self-published authors don't know about working with bookstores, told by Paul Hanson of Village Books in Bellingham, Washington.

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