Some self-published authors are reluctant to admit that fact.
I remember interviewing one prominent professional in town who adamantly denied self-publishing his book, looking at me as if I had denigrated his entire contribution to the literary world by merely suggesting the notion. As it happened, he had started his own publishing company -- which, of course, accepted his manuscript straight away, curiously accepting none others since. There couldn’t have been a more literal definition of the term “self-published,” but he was not to be dissuaded.
Not all, however, are so ashamed. And why cower?
In December 2011, USA Today touted 15 self-published works among its 150 Best-Selling Books list. The same article continues to say that the most recent figures from the Association of American Publishers indicate that e-books account for 13.6 percent of the adult fiction market.
In this new age of digital publishing, where authors can format their own manuscript, design their own covers and never have to worry about up-front purchases of thousands of copies of their own books, some don’t event bother with traditional publishing houses.
Michael D. Graham didn’t.
The Mankato East graduate who works as a financial representative by day, awoke at 2 a.m. several months ago with an idea in his head. He wrote until dawn; and within months, he had a short novel about a middle-aged alcoholic who finds a certain redemption in the cross-country running exploits of youth.
Graham had dabbled with writing previously. But “Running State” (as his $2.99 Kindle e-book is called) was different. This work was better. Maybe publishable. But É
“That was a huge animal I didn't know how to tackle,” he said. “I wasn’t excited about it.”
He researched self-publishing methods extensively and chose an Amazon service called Kindle Direct Publishing. The service allows authors a 70 percent royalty rate and Amazon’s vast audience. Within two days of publishing, Graham had sold 20 copies of his book.
That’s potatoes compared to self-publishing monarch and Austin, Minn.-native Amanda Hocking, whose self-published, young-adult novels have sold more than a million copies. But still not bad for Graham, who didn’t have to lift a finger.
“I'm not looking to make a big pile of money,” said Graham, who is pairing a reading from his book with a question-and-answer about self-publishing in back-to-back presentations at the Blue Earth County and North Mankato Taylor libraries.
“I just want to get my story out there and continue to work on writing.”
Graham based the book, in part, on his experience as a long-distance runner at Mankato East. The sport, he said, rewards mental as well as physical endurance and its best athletes have a certain willpower and self-reliance that seemed fitting avenues to explore the recovery from alcoholism.
“Everybody has had a rough patch,” he said. “Those are distance runs.”