It’s the age of self expression. Easy-to-create software programs have spurred the massive growth of blogs, podcasts, and videos. Social tools such as RSS Feeds have made it easy for these would-be writers, directors and artists to connect to a large audience. While content sharing sites such as YouTube provide platforms for all types of art (amateur and the more polished), they’ve provided platforms for real talent to be discovered. We’ve witnessed the arrival of the ‘citizen journalist’ in mainstream media with CNN’s I-Report and Fox’s U-Report. Let’s witness the arrival of the next Tolstoy or Twain in the publishing world. Designed to empower prospective authors, self-publishing companies continue to introduce new technologies that make publishing accessible and affordable to the general public. Now, these smart self-publishers are partnering with the large book retailers and social networking sites to connect writers to a large potential customer base. These new partnerships are providing authors with both the access to the tools of production — and outlets for mass distribution.
CreateSpace is a self-publishing tool with books on demand service that is a part of the Amazon group. Self publishers don’t have to worry about the need for inventory. Authors send the original file, and when someone purchases the book, it’s created on demand and shipped within a day. The best part – is that books are available to all Amazon users.
Borders has partnered with self-publisher Lulu to launch “Borders Personal Publishing Service”. Self-publishing kiosks (or book vending machines) will be placed in some of its stores. The companies plan to roll out the kiosks initially in 13 stores in 2008 beyond an initial kiosk in an Ann Arbor location. Additionally, the service will also be available online. .
The social networking site, Gather, and self-publishing company, AuthorHouse, have partnered to launch Gather Community Press. The service allows new authors to market their work within a social network. They’ve cleverly put together a self-publishing package that offers complimentary copies of published book (so Authors can send their books to their Gather friends for reviews) , a custom group header and icon for author’s to launch their own Gather group to promote their books. If you have a completed manuscript, act quickly. Writers receive 50,000 ad impressions on Gather if they order their self-publishing package by March 15.
Now the dream of publishing your stories and sharing them with the world may be within reach. But if you’re an aspiring writer interested in taking this publishing route, do keep in mind that self-publishing traditionally puts promotion in the hands of the author. These programs offer the promise that books will reach the public with fewer obstacles, avoiding the deep-rooted publishing world. But now, talented authors have a bigger pile to climb out of. There is a new, accessible distribution system, but it’s still one that requires much hard work and resourcefulness.