To be published or to self publish, that is the question.

By: E. Ward

In today's society the book industry is starting to resemble somewhat of a social hierarchy. Meaning that there are certain levels authors strive for before they are considered to be at the top of the food chain. Herein lies the quandary; how should authors reach the top and what can they do to get there?
Many would answer find a publisher to take on your book, all of the costs involved and in the end get a royalty check every quarter. However, an equal amount of individuals would argue that self-publishing reduces the hassle of finding a publisher to begin with, and gets the books published quicker. This method comes at a higher cost to begin, but can also come with the reward of less people touching the profits and the possibility of being picked up by a publisher (as well as an entrepreneurial spirit). So which one is better, and why do some authors have a problem with self-published authors? Besides the few who take a reserved approach to self-publishing, the majority of authors have a great respect for each other's work and the art of writing.

Each method can work for each author, and therefore it can be a personal preference. Many find happiness in doing things for themselves, and some like the opportunity to have the work published for them. Whichever method is chosen by an author, one common element remains the same; everyone works hard to get to the top.
With trends within the book industry moving toward connecting directly with the reader, many authors start up their own websites with interactive features such as newsletters and blogs to market books. This is a common theme for published and self-published authors who are vying to be in the top percentile within the industry. There are websites sprouting up over the Internet that have seen this trend and are helping authors (whether they be published or self-published), as well as publishers in some cases, raise awareness of their books and reach the next level. However, many do not allow a lot of books to be registered for free, are cluttered with text and do not focus on connecting author and reader.
One simple site to use without any of the above problems is bookhitch.com. The website has had a successful reaction from many authors and publishers after only being live since May 2006. bookhitch is helping individuals reach the next level by offering them the opportunity to list an unlimited amount of books, for free. The website is unique because next to each description of the book an author can place a link to his/her own website (or publisher etc) to buy the book. Therefore readers can buy the book directly from the author, cutting out the amount of people handling the book. The site, like many authors sites, is also utilizing different mediums to connect further with their target audience of authors, publishers and readers. One such medium is their new "hitch news" newsletter, which offers information about marketing books and whatever else is suggested. Soon, the newsletter will even showcase select author's articles.
To be published or to self publish, that is the question? The answer is simple, either one works, especially with websites like bookhitch helping to increase awareness of each author's talent.

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