And now for the news.
Highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing:
“Michael Volpatt, the chef-owner of Big Bottom Market in Guerneville, has released a new book, Cooking In Place: 50 Days, Stories, and 70+ Recipes to Keep You Sane in Challenging Times,” writes Sonoma West editor Laura Hagar Rush in the opening to this article. The state of Arizona has been hit particularly hard by the novel Coronavirus, and is still seeing huge spikes and clusters in the number of positive COVID-19 cases––as well as deaths. In the middle of all of this bad news comes at least one bit of good: authors are pushing through, and innovating, and making use of self-publishing even while the world of traditional publishing is still operating at a crawl. Volpatt, writes Rush, “decided to self-publish his new book when established publishers couldn’t meet his demand for a faster turnaround time than normal. ‘My book agent and I would have gone to my current publisher with this, but we decided to bypass traditional publishing so we could get it out fast,'” said Volpatt to Rush. The cookbook chronicles his at-home cooking adventures, which were a Facebook Live hit, and includes both recipes and suggestions for cooking during times of hardship and limited ingredients. This idea is, simply put, genius–and we’re glad self-publishing is around to make its rapid publication possible.
Struggling to keep your kids occupied as you work from home? Simon Brooks of Mom.com might just have one possible solution: writing a children’s book can keep both the adults and kids in a house busy for days, even weeks. It’s not a process, however, without its complications, Brooks admits: “using pictures and illustrations to tell a compelling story in thirty-two pages is not a very easy thing to do. The low word count does not mean that the genre is not a ‘no brainer,’ and there is a lot that goes into writing a good children’s book in such a competitive industry.” He goes on to provide what he calls a “roadmap” to writing one of these little gems, and advocates for self-publishing the finished product, calling it a “comfort” to those in need of a solution. We couldn’t agree more–and if you make use of this international crises to write a book with your kids, please let us know in the comments!
Well, that sounds interesting, doesn’t it? In another fascinating article from Scroll.in, Manish Purohit describes the experience of self-publishing in India during this unfolding COVID-19 situation–and even steps back and reframes the development of self-publishing throughout India’s history as a nation and subcontinent. “Self-publishing in India is as old as publishing itself,” writes Purohit: “Publishers may scoff at this, but deep discounts to authors, subsidy publishing and buyback arrangements have always been available and used. And these terms have always guided publishing decisions.” The process is even easier now, with the availability of so many self-publishing options, and many authors are considering it as their first and preferred option. Says Purohit, “Self-publishing platforms democratised the dissemination of writing and earned a dedicated audience,” and now they may prove ever more important in providing additional avenues to publication outside of traditional publishing houses, many of which will struggle to overcome the increased inventory returns resulting from COVID-19 and will have to resort to publishing what Purohit calls “mostly comprise safe, sellable titles.” Without the modern flourishing of self-publishing alternatives, midlist authors would see ever-shrinking options to get their words out there. Thankfully for all of us, this shutdown happened in 2020, when we are mostly equipped to overcome.