Froma Bird's Eye View

By Raven West

Erase the “Self-Published” Label – Become a Publisher!

Once upon a time, a very long time ago – actually, it was only about a decade ago, but it seems like a very very VERY long time ago – the question everyone I met at book signings and festivals was “What is your book about?” If they liked the answer, they bought a personally signed copy and I happily took their money.

Soon after, the question most asked at these same venues is “are you self-published?” This is usually followed by a silent “so your book isn’t worth anything” followed by a  series of questions as to how they can find a publisher for themselves.

My short response was for them to go on-line. When they walk away without a personally signed copy of my novel, I’m thinking I should have told them to go someplace else. Someplace a lot hotter.

When I respond that my publisher went out of business, so I re-published the print copies with Createspace and the Ebooks with Smashwords, suddenly I became a “less than” author. The old tag “vanity publishing” invalidated all the work I’d put in to the writing of my novels, the many hours searching for an agent, finding an agent, firing the agent, getting a publisher, having the publisher go out of business, etc. just didn’t matter.

Neither did the fact the books sold more than 15,000 copies, and were ranked in the top 100 at Amazon for all of two weeks. Neither did the fact that self-published authors have greater control over their work and earn more royalties than many authors, or that even authors who have managed to go the traditional route find it not to be the “stuff that dreams are made of” the self-published tag is still considered by most of the reading public to indicate that your work just isn’t as good as someone else’s who is published by a third party.

After iUniverse and a few others hit the scene in the 1990’s, the number of subsidiary publishers exploded. Anyone with a manuscript and a few hundred dollars could now be a “published” author. Authors were no longer “self-published” even though they were paying to have their books printed, they could respond to the question with “no, my publisher is…”  And for a time, that was sufficient to appease the masses.

It didn’t take that long for those masses to get wise to this deception.

So, with many of the traditional publishing houses going out of business, and the cost of subsidiary publishers, for the most part, being way beyond what most starving writers are willing or able  to spend, we began to seek other means of solving both the eliminating the self-published label and being a published author without having to mortgage the house to do so.

Creative people come up with creative solutions.

Start your own publishing company!

There are many sites on-line which will help you in the details on the “how-to”, but the why is simple. Being “published” by anyone OTHER then yourself adds credibility to your book! When you contact bookstores as a publisher on behalf of your author, they won’t slam the phone in your ear. (Ok, so you can’t exactly slam cell phones, but whatever…)

You’ll be able to register at book fairs as a publishing company, not just your name. Even if yours is the only book your company publishes!

Yes, it is a bit of a lie. You’re still a self-published author but it’s your publishing company who is publishing your book. Unless you reveal the facts, no one is going to know, or care. You’ll now be able to answer that question posed by an inquisitive author at a book faire who probably isn’t going to buy your personally autographed copy of your book anyway, with a catchy publisher’s name!

And who knows, if that author sends you their manuscript, you might make a few extra bucks in the process!



  1. I like your ideas. What’s the name of your publishing company? I’m a self published author of five novels and one short story and I’ve thought of starting a publishing company myself. In fact, I’ve purchased a great domain name in which to accomplish it. It’s I haven’t done anything with it however, just waiting for the right idea to strike me. Anyway your post set my creative juices flowing.


  2. Hi Doug – A guest speaker at my local writer’s group gave a talk on this process as an alternative to self-publishing after she received so many rejections from the “establishment” and heard how impossible it was to get her books stocked in local bookstores, so she just created her own publishing company and suddenly her books were being accepted all over! Been discovering many authors are now “publishing” this way… it’s still self-publishing, in that you’re the person shelling out the money up front, but when someone looks up your name on Amazon and see’s a “company” on the Publisher line, it does give it an extra ounce of credibility, even if that name isn’t Random House!

    I’ve not done this myself as yet. I’d rather write more than anything, but it is definitely something to look into. Glad to have helped you with your creative juices!


  3. This article is actually a fastidious one it helps new web visitors,
    who are wishing in favor of blogging.


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