Libraries release new guide to independent book publishing

Independent (or self) publishing has exploded in the last few years: The number of independently published titles grew by 422% between 2007 and 2012. A large part of that growth is because in some ways it’s quite easy to publish a compilation of lecture notes, monograph, book of essays, textbook, or novel—there are now dozens of companies that can help authors sell to a potentially large audience or simply print a copy of their book. But which company, if any, is right for a given project?

The MIT Libraries’ Office of Scholarly Publishing, Copyright, and Licensing has created a guide to independent publishing as a resource for authors navigating the services and companies out there. We released the guide last month during the IAP session “An Introduction to Independent Publishing” cosponsored by Urban Studies & Planning Professor Anne Whiston Spirn. Spirn, who independently published her latest book, The Eye is a Door, led the well-attended session and shared her own experience and advice. We hope to run it again next year.

The guide gives an overview of what independent publishing is and why you might decide to do it, and suggests questions to ask before choosing a company or service, e.g., do you want to edit or design your book or pay someone to do this work? Do you hope to make money from sales? Do you want to publish an e-book, print book, or both? The guide also highlights some of today’s most popular publishing companies and the services they offer.