Further proof that, for authors, the times they are a changin’…

April 7, 2009

From CNN.com’s Elham Khatami:

More authors turn to Web and print-on-demand publishing

“Still Alice,” written by Lisa Genova, is a novel about a 50-year-old Harvard professor’s struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. It’s also a book, Genova was told, that nobody would want to read.

After spending 1½ years writing “Still Alice,” Genova spent just as much time trying to find a literary agent. “I never heard a response from most of the query letters I sent,” Genova said. “Four literary agents asked to see the book. One of them said she just didn’t think there was a general audience that would want to read about Alzheimer’s.”

When she was turned down by several traditional publishing houses, Genova decided to follow a different route: self-publishing via Web-based companies. When she informed one of the literary agents of her decision, his response was daunting.

“He said, ‘Don’t do that, you’ll kill your writing career before it starts,’ ” said Genova.

But she decided to press forward. Turning to the Author Solutions self-publishing brand, iUniverse, Genova published her book for $450, a cost that included an ISBN — the International Standard Book Number that uniquely identifies books — and the ability to sell on Amazon.com.

Months later, after receiving positive reviews on Amazon.com and a favorable review in the Boston Globe, Genova’s book was picked up by Simon & Schuster and is in its 12th week on The New York Times Bestsellers List.

Read rest of article



One comment

  1. “Still Alice” is an excellent book. Even being fiction, it’s one of the best and truest I’ve read about dealing with Alzheimer’s disease.

    In a conversation with Genova she was asked if she had any advice for aspiring writers to which she said – “If you don’t find a literary agent falling in your lap quickly enough, if you feel like your work is done and ready to share with the world, self publish. Give your work to the world. Let it go. And keep writing. Freedom!”

    I, for one, am glad she did.

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