Self-Publishing News: 8.20.2019

august month

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing!

Once upon a time, way back when, we mentioned on this blog that Beatrix Potter self-published her most famous work, The Tale of Peter Rabbit (see our post here). This week the story is coming back around again thanks to this lovely piece on Mental Floss by contributor Garin Pirnia. Writes Pirnia, Potter wasn’t willing to compromise on her personal vision for her books, and:

On December 16, 1901, a 35-year-old Potter used her personal savings to privately print 250 copies of The Tale of Peter Rabbit. The book turned out to be a hit—so much so that, within a year, Frederick Warne and Co. (one of the publishers that had originally rejected the book) signed on to get into the Peter Rabbit business. In October 1902, they published their own version of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, complete with Potter’s illustrations, and by Christmastime it had sold 20,000 copies. It has since been translated into nearly 40 different languages and sold more than 45 million copies.

We’re so glad that Potter went ahead and stuck up for what she knew was the right format for her book, and of course we’re grateful that the success of The Tale of Peter Rabbit allowed her to pursue more publications in that series. Pirnia also points out that Potter’s doggedness in seeing her vision through transformed the way that picture books are written, illustrated, and sold—a win for everyone, ultimately, in the end. Three cheers for more stories about one of the self-publishing greats!

The Missassauga is bringing us some interesting news this week with this article from contributor Carola Vyhnak, covering the self-publishing story of author Jenn Bruer, who looked to Beatrix Potter (how fitting for this week’s run-down of news!) for inspiration when she was getting started. Writes Vyhnak, “As a stay-at-home spouse and foster parent, the Mississauga resident was afraid traditional publishers wouldn’t take her seriously.” Relateable, right? But she had plenty to add to the conversation, Vyhnak continues, “So she wrote a book to help others and, using post-Peter Rabbit, digital-age technology and $6,670 of her own money, self-published it last December.” After moderate success in selling the book, Bruer reflects that the best part of the process had nothing to do with making a profit—it was seeing her book’s positive impact on the larger conversation around mental health and wellness. “‘I just thought it was the right thing to do,’ she says of the 224-pager, written ‘from my heart. […] Burnout is rampant in our society,’ especially among those in the helping professions, explains Bruer, who found her own way to physical, mental and spiritual wellness.” This is an important lesson for all of us, but usefully, the article doesn’t stop there—it provides hard numbers, additional anecdotes from others involved in the self-publishing process, and in general helps pull back the veil of one of the lesser-known aspects of self-publishing: the speaking of one’s truth out into the world. We can all do with more positivity and truth!


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As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog each month to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

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