Self-publishing gives hope to struggling artists

Keith Kaczmarek

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In a down economy with no end (or jobs) in sight, we as students should not expect to find jobs after school ends. This grim news stated, we should be looking to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps and here is one option: self-publishing.

Back in the day, writers of various sorts had to find a publisher for their work. The potential of your work didn’t mater. All that mattered was whether you could find someone to believe that what you wanted to publish was commercially viable.

It didn’t matter what it was that you did. You might be a photographer, graphic artist, magazine writer, poet, novelist, historian, philosopher, game designer … whatever. The publishers were the gatekeepers and the only way to hop that gate was to start your own publishing company or pay a vanity press to print your work and hope you could somehow get books into bookstores or sell them to the distributors that stock stores.

The good news is that today we live in the Golden Age of the Internet and personal computing. The Kindle, PDFs, and other various avenues have opened up and how. Lulu.com will walk you through the process of publishing your work all the way to the point of facilitating the design of a professional-looking cover and real ISBN number.

The market for eBooks of various kinds is not only emerging, but like the Internet itself it takes advantage of the global markets and the niche markets. I mean, you might think you are the only person who enjoys romance novels with zombie love interests, but I can assure you that there are enough people scattered across the world who share your interests.

The possibilities for getting your stuff out there are actually too numerous to list in this opinion.

But before you assume that this is just the hopeful nonsense of an idealist raised on a steady diet of Internet mythology, this opinion can cite at least one success story: Amanda Hocking. The AP has been running stories the past week about this writer who, at the ripe age of 26, is already a millionaire from selling her supernatural romance novels on outlets like Amazon’s Kindle Store and Barnes & Nobles NOOKbooks at prices ranging from little under a dollar to just under three dollars (she keeps 70%). In under a year, she has already sold enough books to impress the dead wood publishers and secure a four-book deal from a publisher who had rejected her work years before.

Would you believe that she only started putting her books up in May?

The jobs of tomorrow don’t seem to be materializing, and for the creative types who always seem to be habitually unemployed in a bad economy, we must embrace the fact that our elders don’t actually know how to keep the economy working properly or keep people employed. Luckily, we now live in a world that seems designed to break down the old barriers.

I mean, if Facebook can spark a revolution in the Middle East, what can’t the Internet do for you?

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