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Self-Publishing: If At First You Don’t Succeed…

Posted by in Books for Sale , Self Publishing on March 14, 2012

Following on from a previous article that touched upon and commented on the fact that if you self-publish, you will be joining illustrious company, this has never been a truer fact.

Self-publishing might be a challenge, sure. Self-publishing might sometimes feel unrewarding or fruitless. It might have you reaching for balance transfers more often than you’d like. However, the key here is perseverance and faith in yourself; after all, Rome wasn’t built in a day. If you keep pushing yourself and keep driving forward, then success/recognition in some respect is only just around the corner. Besides, countless widely-renowned authors took the self-publishing route and it paid off not only for them, but for society in general, as we were then able to revel in the works that they produced and we were all better for it.

Opting to self-publish might even result in your work being willingly picked up by an already established publishing house, so you never know the outcome of your endeavours until you try. Certain authors even found success with self-publishing even after having been turned down by several publishers, so even rejection at first can lead to a turnaround at a later point in time.

The Trouble with Spartacus

Spartacus – that great tale of the historic slave-led revolt – was published in 1951 by Howard Fast. The factor here that led to the author self-publishing his own work was the fact that he was writing it during the McCarthy era, an era which was rife with accusations of treason, constant paranoia, (stemming from Communism) and the like. Fast himself had actually joined the Communist party in 1943, which led to him being called before a committee in 1950, in order to disclose who was behind the funding for an orphanage for the children of American veterans of the Spanish Civil War. Fast refused and was sentenced to a three month stint in prison.

It was during this time that he wrote Spartacus – a name which most literate people now recall, thanks to Fast’s efforts whilst imprisoned – and it is hardly surprising that he faced strict opposition to being able to publish the novel through traditional publishing houses. As no one was willing to publish his book, Fast naturally had to turn to self-publishing, which was in turn funded by people who paid in advance for the book. A product of the faith of hundreds, Fast’s Spartacus was – like the subject matter – all about triumph over adversity. Imagine if he had given up in the face of what opposed him, we would be without not only the great book, but without a movie and TV series as well. Just goes to show what a little faith and perseverance can achieve. Never giving up and exploring all avenues is key here.

Not Just Books

It isn’t just the authors of books that have had similar problems as Fast had, the authors of board games have faced such adversity that they have had to go the self-publishing route, only to find that all of their efforts paid off in the form of great success. One very notable example would be for a Charles Darrow, of Pennsylvania, whose work – the board game, Monopoly – is arguably one of the most famous board games around to this day.

He laboured over the design of the game n 1934, finally achieving what he believed to be the end result. The problem here was that the Parker Brothers – the publishers he had gone to for the distribution of his game – thought otherwise. They cited what is now a quite infamous rejection reason: that his game had “52 design errors” or “fundamental flaws” and rejected his proposal for the game.

Instead of giving up, the undaunted Darrow went forth and eventually self-published his Monopoly game, perhaps inspired by the fame/fortune/luck theme of the game itself. He handmade around 5,000 sets of the game and managed to sell them on to a department store in Philadelphia and was a resounding success. Darrow found that demand far outweighed what he was able to supply, so therefore went back to the Parker Brothers, confidence bolstered by his good fortune so far. What happened from then on is quite obvious.

It is perseverance, determination, some luck, and faith in one’s work that may well lead to success in some respect if one were to opt for the self-publishing route. It is a chance that many have taken and have it returned in good fortune many times over. So take the shot, you’ll never know what you’ve missed out on if you don’t.

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