MOUNT VERNON — When it comes down to getting a piece of work published, many local authors have chosen to self publish instead of venturing into the tradition world of publishing.
The traditional publishing world is filled with numerous companies, magazines, online stores, publishing houses and even competitions, each one looking for something a bit different.
They each have their own set of guidelines on what to submit, where to submit; some require agents and some require a reading fee. All of this can make the idea of publishing a piece of fiction, poetry, or even non-fiction a daunting task, especially if the route authors plan to take is the traditional route.
The traditional publishing route includes finding an agent, who then helps get the author noticed by publishing houses. Each publishing house wants to see the manuscript, and, if accepted, buy the rights to the book through a contract and the author is paid in royalties.
However, a few local authors have found a way around the traditional publishing path. They have chosen to become self-published, or ‘indie,’ authors who use other, non-traditional ways of getting their works published.
The most popular way to publish a work today, for both print market and digital market, is by using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. Users make an account, upload their document, create a cover, and within days the work can be up for digital sale while the author keeps creative rights and earn a high royalty rate for the book.
With it being that simple, many of the local writers who are either unknown, first-timers, or niche market writers turn to KDP to publish their work.
Take Jared McCann. He is an author of two fictions works, “Marked For Judgment” and “The Dead Will Rise Again,” and a collection of poetry titled “Forever I Will Be,” all of which were published through Amazon.
He also works for the Mount Vernon Fire Department as a firefighter and a paramedic since 2007. He and his family live outside of Mount Vernon in a country home where he enjoys woodworking in his spare time.
“I just wanted to put something out there and see what happened,” he said about why he started writing. “I try to be an inspiration now to others. The ‘you can do it too, if you put your mind to it’ kind of guy.”
“The process was painstaking but it’s rewarding at the end,” McCann said. He worked on his writings in between shifts at the fire department and doing projects around the house.
When it came down to publishing his first novel, Marked For Judgment, he said self publication was the way to go.
“I got to have full control and full rights,” McCann said. He published with Create Space, a self-publishing service now own by Amazon.
“It was very simple to use. You put in what you want, and that’s it,” he said. “The hardest part (of using Create Space) was the formatting but I eventually got the hang of it.
“With traditional publication, there’s so many variations to starting out,” McCann said as to why he didn’t go that route. But now that he’s working on his fourth work, and has more experience, he hopes to go that route one day.
His works are available online on Amazon and Barnes & Noble along with being sold at Paragraphs Bookstore in Mount Vernon.
Aaron J. Keirns has published several niche market books about local parks in both Knox and Licking counties. In these works, he looks at the history and gives an in-depth look to the areas through photos and maps.
His works include Black Hand Gorge, a state nature preserve in Licking County, and most recently a book about the history and development of Ariel-Foundation Park.
Keirns grew up in Ohio and has lived locally for the past 35 years. After a degree in anthropology from The Ohio State University, he wrote for a newspaper doing feature stories.
This, along with an interest in history and printing, was the right combination, he said, to get him started writing these works.
“The subject matter was about local and regional areas,” Keirns said about why he decided to start to self-publish his works. “Big companies weren’t interested in them. It was a limited market.”
Keirns started publishing in the mid 1990s, when print on demand services, such as Amazon, weren’t available. Back then, he said, those who wanted to publish had to hire a printer and print a certain number of copies, around 2,000, to keep the cost down.
“There’s a lot less risk now,” Keirns said. “The up front cost is less compared to the 90s.”
“Kindle Direct Publishing has a wealth of information and keeps making it easier for people to self-publish,” he said.
His books can be found on Amazon and at local bookstores in the surrounding counties.
Deane Charles Drury is currently working on a novel and has previously published his memoir through Kindle Direct Publishing.
A Brat’s Tale: The Rise and Fall of a Prodigal Son, the title of his memoir, follows Drury as he grows up and attends West Point and the life that follows.
Drury has said he has moved over 40 times in his life but now has settled in Eastern Ohio. He spent three years teaching American Politics at the Mount Vernon campus of COTC.
“My wife encouraged me to publish,” Drury said. “A member of my yacht club told me about Amazon and told me to give it a try.”
Drury said he looked into traditional publication but didn’t want to dedicate that much time and effort into getting published. As an unknown author, he said, publishing houses are difficult to get into.
“It’s relatively easy,” he said about publishing through KDP. “But I neglected to market the memoir and I should have done that.”
He also listed some important issues that someone who decides to self-publish needs to consider, some not so easy. They include getting an ISBN number, copyright application, the book synopsis (a look into what the book is about), everything that falls into formatting, citations if there are any, a biography, and the pricing for the book.
“You need two or three sharp eyes to edit,” Drury said about the process. He had hired others to edit the work for him, along with his wife.
He said he didn’t want to make money from the book. The reason he published the memoir, Drury said, was for his grandson to have a history of his life.
He plans to release his next novel in this fall and hopefully do a presentation on it and his memoir in November. His memoir can be found on Amazon.