Kingman authors among those unleashed by affordable self-publishing

Courtesy<BR>
Pat and Judy Barry during their one-year trip around the United States. Their travels served as the inspiration for their self-published book, “Hello America, How Are You?”

Courtesy<BR> Pat and Judy Barry during their one-year trip around the United States. Their travels served as the inspiration for their self-published book, “Hello America, How Are You?”

KINGMAN - For artists, getting their work out for people to hear or see has become exponentially easier with the use of technology. Publishing mediums have changed in the last 10-20 years. Mediums such as YouTube, Vimeo, Spotify, SoundCloud, iTunes, Steam, and so many more have put publishing in the hands of artists, effectively democratizing art for the masses and giving consumers a nearly infinite amount of content to enjoy.

One that has been slow to catch up to this movement is traditional book publishing. Putting out a book requires resources many people just don't have access to, and the process of submitting formatted manuscripts and query letters often required the help of expensive literary agents. While the price of entry for writers is essentially free, the price of entry for getting published was, and still is, astronomically high.

With eBooks taking off and online booksellers such as Amazon overtaking brick-and-mortar stores in sales, self-publishing was set to blossom. In 2009 the number of self-published books overtook books put out by traditional publishers, and the industry has never looked back.

Putting out a book on your own has never been easier, and local authors in the area are taking advantage of the world of self-publishing.

Frank Atwood - "Buck Trent"

Frank Atwood's book "Buck Trent" is his first experience with self-publishing. He wrote the book 20 years ago and the manuscript sat in a box until he retired and had time to revisit it. He saw the medium as a way to bypass expensive publishers who wanted money up front to finance his book.

"I contacted publishers when I could. They wanted thousands after I sent them the manuscript." said Atwood.

"I would have to make payments on the novel, but they wouldn't manufacture it until it was paid off."

Atwood turned to Facebook, putting a chapter at a time online for people to read. The book, a western set in 1875, was well received.

"Everybody that read it, has liked it," he claims.

A gentleman from Manila contacted Atwood after reading his novel online and offered to help him as a means to self-publish. Because Atwood had no experience in manuscript formatting or putting together a package for self-publishing, he obliged and paid the agent $200 to format and prep the book for publication. That included securing an ISBN number, which can run up to $125.

Atwood relied on a friend to sketch the cover, and he edited the novel himself. The 216-page book was put out through CreateSpace publishing, one of the self-publishing arms on Amazon.com, just before Thanksgiving last year. So far, he's sold 20 copies and has been pleased with the results.

"You don't give up. Follow what's in your gut," said Atwood.

"Everybody wants to be an elite. Just be yourself."

His novel can be found on Amazon.com for $9.99, or at Hastings under the "Local Authors" section.

Pat and Judy Barry - "Hello America, How are you?: Traveling for a year with the Barrys"

Pat and Judy Barry decided to take a year-long RV trip around the Untied States in 2010 with no intention of putting out a book. They did love to write about their travels, however.

"It started as trip updates for our family and friends," said Judy.

After a friend suggested putting it in a book, they started looking into collecting their updates and putting it out there.

Much like Atwood, they found that traditional publishers were a bit out of their reach.

"It's expensive to do it through a publisher," said Pat. "They're looking for a slam-dunk versus first time authors."

After hearing about Outskirts Press, a self-publishing group, they decided to go through them and pursue a book.

The group has various packages depending on the size and style of the book. Their lowest package is around $300, which includes the ISBN number. They also offer ala-carte options as well. The Barry's took advantage of a special on covers and had a professional book cover made for them as well.

They've sold over 100 books already, and they print them as they go along. They plan to sell them through campgrounds and RV shows during their travels, and have a box of books wherever they go.

"We're not doing it for a living. We're doing it for fun," they said.

Their book can be found on Amazon.com and other online sellers for $11.99.

Deborah Laurent - "The Glass Table," "The Christmas Robe," and "Desires of the Heart"

Deborah Laurent has already seen some success in the self-publishing world. According to Laurent, she's sold 52,000 copies between "The Glass Table" and "The Christmas Robe" and may be securing a deal with Hallmark for a Christmas movie in the near future.

Laurent publishes through Lulu.com, which charges only on a per-book basis for printing. No packages are required, and books can be printed on-demand as needed.

While she has found success in self-publishing, Laurent still pursues publishers and has looked at self-publishing as a way to achieve a "three-prong plan" in her quest for publishing.

"I want to have two completed novels in order to answer the question 'Do you have any other works?' in the affirmative," said Laurent via email. She considers this completed when "Desires of the Heart" is published.

"I want these stories well edited and professionally illustrated, and I want to take these finished works ... to the numerous publishing venues."

She talks about having an empty wall ready for "rejection letters certain to come" but is confident that her novels will "find the right home," whether that's in self-publishing or elsewhere.

She sees self-publishing as a way to have control over her product and as a stepping stone for authors trying to get to that next level, and has "great respect and regard for the format."

You can find her novels through Lulu.com, at Hastings, or at Amazon.com and various other online booksellers.

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