INSIDE THE ART, CRAFT AND BUSINESS OF WRITING for Film, TV, Books, Stage, Print or Digital Media (with Particular Attention to Comedy)
In 1776, the failed corset-maker Thomas Paine, then fired from his job as a newspaper editorialist, wrote, edited and self-published “Common Sense”, the pamphlet credited with galvanizing the American colonies into the War of Independence (available free via Project Gutenberg). “Common Sense” was an instant hit, selling half a million copies within its first year in print, but it was just the first of several controversial self-published political writings. (see here for more Paine history).
In 2009 E.L. James started posting what would become Fifty Shades of Grey as online Twilight fan fiction. It caught on immediately with readers and was soon released as an ebook and a print on demand paperback by The Writers’ Coffee Shop, a virtual publisher based in Australia. Not exactly ‘self’ published but still… More about Fifty Shades here. And more here about other recent self-publishing successes that aren’t Fifty Shades.
While researching my latest book, I encountered two lesser-known self-published masterpieces. They might not have changed the world like Fifty Shades did, but they represent the kind of boldly idiosyncratic book that probably couldn’t – and maybe shouldn’t – find a T.P. (traditional publisher). I’m currently considering whether to self-publish my book, but if I do I’m in damn good company with…
The Book of Life: The Discoveries and Writing by K.L. Sidartha (published by ‘The School of Culture’ aka ‘Sidartha’) is like a psychological-spiritual treatise written by a 19th century R. Crumb. It’s filled with wackadoodle ideas about humanity that, when you really consider them, aren’t crazy at all. In fact, I think Sidartha may have been on to something!
Buzzacott’s Masterpiece – or – The Complete Hunter Trapper and Campers Library of Valuable Information by “Buzzacott”(also ostensibly ‘published’ by McMain & Meyer who, as far as I can tell never published anything else) is a serious, practical guide for the serious outdoorsperson – I think. I’m not that outdoorsy, but it makes me wish I was so I could have Buzzacott as a guide.