Publish Before You Perish

By Kathryn Comment

Since the number of Americans hoping to write novels keeps lapping the number who read them, it shouldn’t come as much surprise that the most popular NYTBR article in ages (currently no. 4 on the paper’s “most e-mailed” list) comes with the pedagogically indulgent title, “How to Be Your Own Publisher.”

Putting aside its backstage-pass access to desperation, however, the article does a good job rounding up the relevant trends and figures. Here’s the ones I wasn’t lazy enough to skip over:

-Both traditional and untraditional (self-publishing) publishing ventures see the value in catering to niches.

”What’s interesting is the capability of having micro-niches that are so small that publishers would not be interested in publishing them in the traditional way,” says Richard Sarnoff, the president of Random House Ventures, which owns a minority stake in Xlibris. ”Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding,” a best seller at, might be a good example…

-Authors can also self-publish to re-release their out-of-print material.

-Self-publishing ventures like iUniverse are trying to help their best books overcome the stigma of self-publishing. iUniverse’s “Star” program selects 2-3 books monthly and makes sure that, unlike other self-published books, its program’s slections are “returnable” and “competitively discounted.”