I began self-publishing in a time that it was considered the desperate act of an unskilled writer. Vanity press was about the only option back in 1986, when I began self publishing. Basically, the writer paid a company to print the book. It was done in large lots, so thousands of dollars were required - and then you got store and market the book. I had no place to store books and I couldn't afford to spend that much - especially when I had more than one book.
I started putting my books in 3-ring binders and sharing them with friends, relatives and co-workers. Over and over, I got the same response. "You should have these published!" I even had someone offer to foot the bill for half interest in the profits.
I didn't start self-publishing because I couldn't find a publisher, though. I simply didn't want to sign seven years over to one agent. Back then, you took what they offered and made the changes they wanted you to make. I'm too independent for my own good, I guess, because I didn't want to do that. I have published articles and short stories that way, but a novel? Huh uh. Those are my babies.
I discovered that people didn't want to buy a self-published book by a nobody, but they would snap up handcrafted copies. I could sell handcrafted copies at craft shows too. So, I figured out how to home publish. I printed and bound the books in my home office and sold them the same way I would sell any self-published book. The difference was, I printed a few at a time instead of spending thousands and storing them. They looked much like a professionally public book.
Later, I published through "Off The Bookshelf," a print-on-demand publisher, and finally, through Amazon. Today, I still make handcrafted books, but most of the print books I sell are published by Amazon. I am still self-published and probably always will be.
Linda L. Rigsbee,
Author, Artist & Publisher
From the writer's perspective