Stephen King. James Patterson. Danielle Steel. Critics and readers alike usually associate these authors with being the heavyweights of American fiction. Each of these authors (although King has been know to be more experimental), have chosen the traditional publishing route.

For those unaware, the process of traditional publishing requires the author to search for an agent for adequate representation. As a result, the agent will visit various publishers in an attempt to sell the author’s work. The publisher could be one of the powerhouses such as Random House, Alfred K. Knopf, and Simon & Schuster or conversely a small publisher depending on the commercial appeal of the work. As opposed to ten years ago when traditional publishing was the only option, new writers are now seizing a golden opportunity with the advent of self-publishing.

Rise of the Self-Publisher

Similar to the evolution of the e-reader such as Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes and Noble’s Nook, self-publishing has had a rather rapid ascension to the top. As relationships between authors and big publishing houses continues to falter, many new and established writers are beginning to avoid major publishers, submitting their work to a small publisher, and some authors are avoiding publishing houses altogether. Cashing in on the turmoil between the two parties are several self-publishing companies. Two of the more successful self-publishers in recent months who have taken the innovative step in assisting new writers have been Lulu and CreateSpace.

Lulu and CreateSpace

Lulu and CreateSpace are just two self-publishing companies among many that are thriving as outlets for new authors. The process for writing for either of these sites is fairly simple for any computer literate individual. After creating an account with the company, the steps to self-publishing are as simple as one, two, three. Lulu and CreateSpace are both POD (Print-On-Demand) companies, which allow the manuscript to be finalized and printed as soon as possible.

However, before publishing there are usually two options when considering the finalization of one’s book: Do it yourself or allow professionals to edit it. If the author is confident that the book is ready for public consumption and needs no further assistance, then the author can publish immediately. On the other hand, the author has the choice, for a price, to hand the manuscript over to the company’s team of professionals to edit and polish the author’s work.

Regardless of what option the author chooses, ultimately when the book is printed, and ready for distribution, the author’s novel is given an ISBN, which is needed for the book to be sold at such places like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Lulu even places the author’s work in their marketplace for purchase. However, despite this simple process, there are still questions concerning whether or not self-publishing is more beneficial than detrimental in the long term.

To Publish or Not to Publish

Despite protests, there are several benefits to choosing the self-publishing route. For instance, as opposed to traditional publishing, the author earns more of a percentage of royalties than he or she would with a major publishing house. Self-publishing also gives the author one-hundred percent control over the final product, as opposed to commercial publishers who often have editors make changes. Furthermore, many self-publishers allow the author to design the cover of the novel.

On the other hand, there is a downside to publishing on your own. For instance, self-publishers are solely responsible for the marketing, which tends to backfire more often than not. No matter how good one can write, they may have difficulty being able to promote themselves; as a result, inadequate marketing equals low book sales. Another huge setback for self-publishers is that there is little chance for writers to have as much success as commercial authors do. There is also a stigma attached to self-published authors, many people believe they are less an author than those who publish with big publishing houses. Nevertheless, there are still a few who have enjoyed success from self-publishing.

The Caine Batter

Devin Pugliano is a self-published author. His novel, The Caine Batter, was originally published in 2007, and was re-released last year with a new cover and ISBN through Lulu. Unlike many new authors, self-publishing was his primary choice, “Self-publishing was, in fact, my first choice. I wasn’t and still am not interested in a big publishing house.” Mr. Pugliano also wanted to ensure he was the only one responsible for his work, instead of putting his hard work in the hands of a stranger, “When you self-publish, you are solely responsible for every aspect of the work, which, in my opinion, is far more rewarding.”

Although his novel has not appeared on the New York Times bestseller list, Mr. Pugliano is pleased with his experience with self-publishing, “I’m still happy with my decision and artistically, It paid off greatly. I’ve received all positive reviews from everyone that has read it thus far.” He is still realistic about how far he can go financially, “Well, I’m an author, how many of us are that wealthy?”

Currently, his novel is being created into a film by director Jennifer Lynch (“Surveillance”). He can be found on Facebook.

Long Road Ahead By no means has the advent of self-publishing overtaken the business of big publishing houses, but it is here, and it is a force to be reckoned with. As more authors divert from big publishing houses into the hands of self-publishers, companies such as Lulu and CreateSpace are not only gaining more customers, but credibility as well. With affordable prices combined with an easy one, two, three step process, authors are getting their work into the hands of the masses quicker than ever, and perhaps, that is the most essential key in our accelerated high-tech society.