Publish Your Own Book: Introduction

About self-publishing your own book, an introduction to the idea for writers, history and information

Publish Your Own Book

Some writers imagine that they have only 2 options for publication: the commercial houses (McGraw-Hill, Doubleday, Harper & Row, and others of assorted shapes, sizes, and predilections) and vanity publishers (Vantage, Exposition, Dorrance, and more), which issue just about anything that an author will pay to see in print.

Writers should not depend exclusively on moneymakers to bring their creations to public notice. If writers and their friends hadn't decided throughout history to bypass the money-makers, form "small presses," and publish their own works, the manuscripts of many classics--and best sellers--would have rotted away in basements, attics, and desk drawers.

Today this tradition of do-it-yourself publishing is too often ignored. Commercial and vanity publishers ignore the tradition because they prefer that a writer create for their profit. They are only too happy to teach a writer how to write, but seldom tell him how to publish.

But the tradition of self-publishing is ignored mainly because writers imagine that they must be commercially published in order to be proud of their work. "If my manuscript is worthwhile, why didn't a commercial house accept it?" the myth persists.

What follows is a history of some notable do-it-yourself successes, and a few flops, in England and the U.S. Other countries--particularly Russia with a vigorous samizdat movement under both the czars and communism--have a long history of do-it-your-selfing.

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