NYT; Alan Finder: The Joys and Hazards of Self-Publishing on the Web


Published: August 15, 2012

Not long ago, an aspiring book writer rejected by traditional publishing houses had only one alternative: vanity publishing. For $5,000 or $10,000, or sometimes much more, he could have his manuscript edited and published, provided that he agreed to buy many copies himself, often a few thousand or more. They typically ended up in the garage.

Digital technology has changed all that. A writer turned down by traditional publishers — or even avoiding them — now has a range of options. Among them are self-publishing a manuscript as an e-book; self-publishing through myriad companies that print on demand, in which a paperback or hardcover book is printed each time it is purchased; and buying an array of services, from editing and design to marketing and publicity, from what are known as assisted self-publishing companies.

“It’s the Wild West in a lot of ways — people who are innovators can do remarkable things,” said Mark Levine, whose own self-published book, “The Fine Print of Self-Publishing,” is now in its fourth edition.


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