Living in Portland, I was thrilled when I saw this recent article from Portland Monthly by Zach Dundas: While New York Sleeps, Self-Published Authors Are Taking Over Literature.
As the articles sub-title declares, “A new breed of Portland writers goes solo.”
Being a Portland writer gone solo myself, this article strikes right to the heart of not only my experiences self-publishing, but the experiences of many self-published authors I know throughout the world. The article illuminates the freedom and the community that surrounds indies.
Jason Gurley, a 37-year-old Portland graphic designer, started working on a fantasy-tinged novel titled Eleanor in 2001. And kept working on it. “In 2012, my wife suggested it would be good to take a break,” he says. In short order, he belted out four sci-fi novels, designed covers, and self-published. “It was like a dam burst,” Gurley says. He rewrote Eleanor, self-published the novel in 2014, and soon found himself with an Amazon best seller and calls from Hollywood. Crown, a division of Random House, republished the book in January. Gurley says his indie beginnings led to his mainstream success.
While self-publishing has its difficulties, and any article about self-publishing that ignores these difficulties is being disingenuous about the entire picture, the Portland Monthly article gets to the heart of what indie authors are falling in love with: creative freedom. This is not only the case for the actual books that indie authors are writing, but also in the means they find to market their works.
Portland-area indie authors are discovering new ways to find readers and creating work that traditional publishing could never concoct. William Hertling, a tech entrepreneur, markets his sci-fi novels to tech-scene and business audiences, and sells tens of thousands of copies. “They might pick up one or two fiction books a year,” he says. “Self-publishing allows you to be more creative about marketing.” Erik Wecks, unemployed in 2011, wrote a book titled How to Manage Your Money When You Don’t Have Any—a target demographic no professional marketer would choose—and sold 70,000 copies, attracting interest from around the world.
Keep writing! We’re at an inflection point with publishing. Self-published authors are taking over!
Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.
There are many gems from self-published authors and it’s nice to know that the negative stigma surrounding self-published novels is slowly dissipating.
The road to success for indie authors and even traditional authors is rife with setbacks and obstacles that few people in any field can relate to, except for maybe actors, comic book illustrators and musicians.
I’ve learned it’s a very tough business, but I will never give up on my greatest passion in life. For those looking for a quick buck – you would be wise to look elsewhere.
So true, Rory! Great point! I would say that life in any field is rife with setbacks. Those that are most successful are typically the people that are most persistent and resilient. I have more rejection letters than I can count both in my work as an attorney and my work as a writer.