Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Self Publishing in the Days of The Virtual Kibbutz

As I work towards the completion of my novel, I have begun considering how to get it published. The world of publishing is evolving. More and more authors are deciding to self publish and self promote their books. While that will work for some, others continue to search for literary agents and traditional publishers with hopes that their book will be one of the few that make it onto bookstore shelves.

At this stage I plan to go the traditional route with my manuscript, as I don’t have the time or resources to self promote my work. It’s funny to think that I’ve already traveled the self publishing road, but that is indeed how my collection of short stories, The Virtual Kibbutz, was published in 2003.

Self publishing is technically easier than ever before. Once your manuscript is written and edited, all you need to do is format it correctly for uploading and literally within minutes it is available for sale on Amazon and other online retail sites. Of course, that is when the hard work begins. Just because a copy of your book can be downloaded to someone’s Kindle doesn’t mean that anyone will find it or want to read it. That is why self publishing is just the first step while self promoting will determine whether your book will succeed or not.

From my research I know that very few literary agents are willing to consider short story collections, and that was true when I finished writing the stories of The Virtual Kibbutz as well. At the time I was eager to see my book in print. I didn’t have the patience to search for a small publishing house that would take a chance on what I had written.

Back then, the dilemma was whether working with a self publishing company was tantamount to publishing with a vanity press. I knew there was a price to pay, but I wouldn’t be purchasing hundreds of copies of my book and need to sell them one by one. I learned about a new concept, print on demand. My book would be published, but copies would be printed only when someone actually made a purchase.

I submitted my manuscript to iUniverse and the process was smooth. My book soon found its way into print and became available for sale on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It was a finalist for a Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Award and was reviewed in a number of Jewish newspapers and magazines. Sales never were spectacular but then again, the stories had appeal for a niche audience.

I am actually hopeful that The Virtual Kibbutz will achieve additional success in the future. Once my novel is published, readers will look forward to reading my earlier work.


  1. Thanks for this post. I've been researching iUniverse and it's nice to hear of a positive experience with them. I plan to buy The Virtual Kibbutz on Amazon. Sounds like a very interesting book and I want to see the quality of an iUniverse book. I'm seeing a few complains on the Internet about iUniverse. How has their communication been? Have they been paying royalties on time?

    I also looked into AuthorHouse (www.authorhouse.com), but I've heard bad things about them too. Then there's another site I came across for a self publishing company (www.selfpublishingcompany.net), and they look like they offer a ton of different services. So many options out there these days!

  2. At the time, iUniverse was the best option. They were very efficient and the process was quick. I'm not sure what the situation is today. Good luck to you!