The advent of self publishing technology has allowed many people to fulfill their dreams of becoming published authors. Sometimes called print on demand (POD) publishing, companies like CreateSpace and Lulu keep electronic copies of the author’s book and print them when purchased online.

Digital printing like this is cost-effective and allows the author to have complete control over their product. While there are many opinions about this option and discussion regarding the fine line between self publishing and vanity/subsidy presses, choosing to self publish is the author’s ultimate choice.

According to Poets & Writer’s Magazine, this type of publishing differs from the traditional publishing process. “The writer, not a company, is the publisher of the book. The writer invests in his or her own work, absorbing all losses, enjoying all benefits, and retaining the ownership and distribution rights of the book. The writer is responsible for marketing and distribution—a huge undertaking.”

Here to provide some insight to eager authors, Katherine Gilraine provides a glimpse into the POD process of a self-published author. She is the author of The Index, Book 1: Mages, and The Index, Book 2: Secrets, which were published using CreateSpace. Both books are available online at Amazon, CreateSpace and Barnes & Noble.

Q: Why did you self-publish?

A: I self-published for two reasons: the traditional route was not happening, for one, and secondly, I wanted to learn about the publishing world the old-fashioned way: trial and error. The self-publication route was an amazing learning experience and, as the world of book publication keeps changing, it provides a firsthand opportunity to learn the ins and outs of marketing as well.

Q: What is rewarding about self publishing?

A: The rewards are the knowledge and the control. The control is unparalleled, you are the master of where your book is going, how it’s going to get there, by what means and what exact substeps are needed to get there. The knowledge that comes as you explore these options is firsthand, thorough and hands-on: you quickly see what works and what doesn’t.

Q: What is not rewarding about self publishing?

A: Definitely the marketing and the editing: those are the two roughest parts that fall squarely onto the author’s shoulders. It’s not until you begin to market a self-published work that you realize just how insanely difficult it is. It’s a test of perseverance, skill and moxie alike.

Q: Do you have any advice for writers embarking on publication?

A: To someone who is considering publication, regardless of the medium, my greatest advice is to keep pushing at your goal. If a literary agent – or ten – send a rejection, let this not discourage you from trying more agents.

Self-publication is definitely a business venture, wherein the author is the business. It is a changing market now as more and more digital reading devices are coming out, from the Kindle to the iPad and, where in the past there was an agent doing all the behind-the-scenes put-together, now the author has a chance to experience the business for oneself. Regardless of the obstacles – of which there are and will be many! – it is a learning experience unlike any other.

Q: Tell us a bit about the book.

A: A trio of fighters are stranded in modern-day New York and are tasked with three things: find out what’s wrong, keep the world together and stay alive. As they hit the ground running, they encounter a variety of questions that have a lot more to do with who they are and what truly matters to them.