Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Stigma of "Self Publishing."

I don’t really understand it. The culprits are, of course, those “self-publishing” companies that make highly inflated claims as to what they can do for you as an author. In spite of the extravagant predictions made, they have no more idea of how to get your book into the mainstream of publishing than you do – but they will most certainly charge you on the basis of it. The less reputable ones will want you to sign away your rights just on the off-chance that lighting may strike and you will have a best-seller on your hands – in which case, of course, they reap the benefit.

But they do have their uses. The more reputable ones will turn out a respectable looking book, using the print on demand process, for an affordable price and, for those wanting a limited circulation family history or perhaps a record of a company’s development, there can be no better way of tackling the job.

And personal histories are important; I think it’s a wonderful thing that families should have a printed record. I very much wish mine had – it would have saved me a lot of arduous research and high on my list of priorities is the job of recording it for future generations.

Social historians will welcome these as a valuable insight into the life of the times gone by, much as they value the historical records left by Samuel Pepys and his ilk. But how much more valuable will be the records of the rather less prominent members of society?

History tends to revolve around the famous – but primarily because they are ones whose stories have been recorded, and this gives a somewhat lop-sided view of the events of the day.

You may have only a few copies of your story lurking somewhere in an attic in the years to come, but for the historian who stumbles across them, they will be invaluable.

And your family will thank you.


Post a Comment

<< Home