The mainstream publishing industry has popularized the stereotype that "self-published" books are inferior to "traditional" ones because the author does not receive an advance and the services provided are less professional. The reality is that the Big Four publishers attained their enormous market share by at least initially relying on author subsidies.
This book describes the road some of the world's top authors took to self-publication. Charles Dickens self-published A Tale of Two Cities in his periodical, All the Year Round. Sir Walter Scott published most of his fiction and poetry with Constantine and Ballantyne, who publishers in which he was heavily invested. Scott's self-publications included his best-selling Waverley series, which established the historical novel genre with Ballantyne. The Liberal only survived for a few issues, and yet its founders, Lord Byron and Percy Shelley, published outstanding radical works in its pages: "The Vision of Judgment" and "Lines to a Critic." Virginia and Leonard Woolf's Hogarth Press published nearly all of Virginia's writings; these works are still used by feminists and birthed the stream of consciousness movement (a style that was too unique for "mainstream" publishers). Edgar Allan Poe spent a lifetime working to create his own independent journal, only succeeding in a brief ownership of the Broadway Journal, a power he used to speak out against plagiarism with pieces such as, "Voluminous History of the Little Longfellow War." Herman Melville paid Harper $29,571 for 350 copies of Clarel. Mark Twain spent $1.3 million (in today's money) to print Old Times on the Mississippi with J. R. Osgood. Henry Luce and Briton Hadden started Time Inc. and Time because they were frustrated reporters seeking more power and independence. Dudley Randall founded the Broadside Press in part to publish his own books like Cities Burning. Alice Walker published an introduction to The Spirit Journey after founding a press with her lover, Wild Trees Press, and might have kept it going longer if major publishers did not start snatching up all of her own innovative full-length works.
Without author-publishers: the sun would still revolve around the earth (Galileo) and book printing would lack exquisite artistic details (Rembrandt). And Americans would still be living in the colonies of the United Kingdom (Benjamin Franklin). It is harder to find an innovative scientist, politician or creative writer who did not self-publish than those who did.
About the Author
Anna Faktorovich is the Director and Founder of the Anaphora Literary Press. She is currently teaching college English at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Previously, she taught for three years at the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and the Middle Georgia State College. She has a Ph.D. in English Literature and Criticism. She published two academic books with McFarland: Rebellion as Genre in the Novels of Scott, Dickens and Stevenson (2013) and The Formulas of Popular Fiction: Elements of Fantasy, Science Fiction, Romance, Religious and Mystery Novels (2014). She published two poetry collections Improvisational Arguments (Fomite Press, 2011) and Battle for Athens (Anaphora, 2012). She also released two historical novels: The Romances of George Sand (2014), and The Battle for Democracy (2016). She published two fantasy novellas with Grim's Labyrinth Publishing: The Great Love of Queen Margaret, the Vampire (2014) and The Campaigns against the Olden: Kingdoms of Laruta (2014). She also wrote and illustrated a children's book, The Sloths and I (Anaphora, 2013). She has been editing and writing for the independent, tri-annual Pennsylvania Literary Journal since 2009, and started the second Anaphora periodical, Cinematic Codes Review in 2016. She has presented her research at the MLA, SAMLA, EAPSU, SWWC, BWWC and many other conferences. She won the MLA Bibliography, Kentucky Historical Society and Brown University Military Collection fellowships.