Most aspiring fiction writers know how difficult it can be to get their hard work published, especially the first time. It can be like trying to get your first job when you have no previous experience.

The Web has offered some possibilities to authors for some time by allowing them to submit their work to ezines but often with no reward. There’s also the possibility for people to create their own Web site to publish to but this too can result in little or no financial reward. Both options can be effective at gaining experience but aren’t necessarily good at generating income or reaching a wide audience.

Another option is by using services like Lulu which allow anyone to self publish their own book, including binding and selling on Web sites, including Amazon. This can be very effective but getting your book in a place where others can buy it, especially book stores, can remain a challenge. There are few examples of self-published books that have been successful.

New Self-publishing Options from Amazon and Apple

The rising popularity of e-books give authors an even easier and potentially more effective solution as it allows them to cut out the middleman. Amazon has for some time offered the ability for people to self-publish their work on the Kindle Store where it can be downloaded by millions of people who own a compatible device, including a mobile phone, PC or Mac. A key advantage is that authors can directly earn money from the sale of their work.

With the recent launch of the iPad, Apple are entering the self-publishing market as well. The iBook Store already offers users of the device (and now the iPod Touch and iPhone as well) the ability to purchase e-books using their iTunes account and take them with them wherever they go. Now Apple is extending this further by allowing authors to self-publish e-books using iTunes Connect and sell them to the tens of millions of iTunes users. The problem for some authors though is that you have to publish using an Apple Mac.

Self-publishing Turns a Page

The reading of e-books – especially with the increasing popularity of devices like the Sony Reader, Amazon Kindle and Apple iPad – is going to increasingly gain popularity this decade. According to Sony, e-book sales may overtake print books within five years. The possibility to self-publish e-books using solutions from the likes of Amazon and Apple (and no doubt Google as well) not only offers authors increased opportunities but also an insight into the future of book publishing.

This revolution will level the playing field and allow for authors, who’d otherwise struggle to get published, to get their work in the hands of readers and earn an income. The Apple App Store has already given many people a chance to make money, sometimes with little or no investment, and before that there were many breakthroughs by musicians publicising themselves on MySpace. The rise of e-books also makes it possible for hidden talent to be discovered and gain popularity by word of mouth. Those with a creative flair for marketing themselves could do even better. There will continue to be advantages to using established publishers, including editing and promotion, but a key consideration will be that e-books from new writers could become as easy to purchase as those from authors like Stephen King.