In my previous post here at All Things Single, I told you about my adventures in traditional book publishing. That’s the route I took with Singled Out. Now let me tell you about my experiences with nontraditional publishing. At the end, I’ll invite you to share your experiences for possible inclusion in two books that are in the works.
At first I was reluctant to publish independently because of the taint that self-publishing once carried. But things are changing rapidly. (Here’s an excellent overview.) Lots of people send me their books, and I rarely notice at first glance whether or not they are independently published.
There are advantages to independent publishing, including control over the content of your book and the speed with which you can get your book into print. The big downside (other than the prestige factor) is that no one is giving you money upfront. You have to hope to make that in sales (if you care about that – and without a regular, full-time source of income, I do).
There are lots of ways to publish independently. So far, I’ve used the Amazon option called CreateSpace. I like it because once you write your book and format it properly, CreateSpace takes over from there. They make the book available on your own special CreateSpace webpage, as well as on Amazon. You don’t need to buy copies and store them in your basement – CreateSpace takes care of the distribution, collects the payments, and sends you your share of the profits. I have also created Kindle versions of each of my independently published books.
It is possible to think up a name of a publishing company to appear on your book, perhaps to mask the fact that it is a CreateSpace book, but so far, I haven’t bothered to do that. You can also pay CreateSpace or someone else to design a special cover, but I haven’t pursued that option, either. You can just use their free cover generator to get something decent.
The first book I published independently was Single with Attitude. It is a collection of 89 essays, including some of my posts from Living Single and the Huffington Post, as well as op-ed pieces that appeared in places such as the New York Times, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and Forbes. Op-ed essays have one of the advantages of traditional publishing – they are edited by professionals before they appear in print. Even though many of the contributions in Single with Attitude are from previous blog posts, readers find it useful to have the most popular pieces all in one place and organized by themes.
I’ve written well over 100 blog posts (and other essays) since Single with Attitude was published, so I’m going to put together a follow-up. I’ll probably give it the same name as my Psychology Today blog: Living Single (along with a subtitle to be named later).
Collections of journal articles are also ideal for self-publishing. Those scholarly publications go through painstaking review and editorial processes before they appear in print for the first time, so there is no need for further editorial assistance from a traditional publisher. Two of my independently published books are collections of journal articles or chapters on deception: The lies we tell and the clues we miss (here’s its own web page, its Amazon page, and its Kindle page) and The hows and whys of lies (own web page, Amazon page, Kindle page).
I just finished putting together five of my scholarly publications on friendship. That book is called Friendsight: What Friends Know that Others Don’t (its own web page, Amazon page, Kindle page). I’ll discuss some of what my colleagues and I found in that research in one of my next two posts (here and/or at Living Single).
I also like the independent publishing option for brief books. For example, my research on the most serious lies that people tell was originally published as a journal article. Academic publications tend to leave out lots of the richness of the research. The wonderfully intriguing, moving, and sometimes harrowing personal stories that people had told me, and my analyses of them, were excluded from the professional journal. So I wrote a short book, Behind the door of deceit: Understanding the biggest liars in our lives (its own web page, its Amazon page, its Kindle page), to share some of those stories and what I learned from them. At some point, I may also take all the work I did on the proposal, How ordinary people become extraordinary liars (described in my previous post), and turn that into a short book.
Two More Books in the Works: Want to Share Your Experiences?
There are two more books on singles I plan to publish independently – one on singlism, that is already very far along, and another that I won’t get to until later, on the topic “Single at Heart.” I’m really excited about both of them and have toyed with the idea of trying to get a traditional publisher for one or both, but at the moment, I’m planning to publish them independently.
The singlism book will probably begin with a brief journal article that was written for a broader audience than fellow academics, so it is mostly readable and jargon-free. I especially like it because it provides a good overview of the whole concept, as well as some of the research and theory behind it. It is short and suitable to lots of audiences.
Then I will include posts from here, Living Single, and the Huffington Post in which I explain singlism, describe examples of it, discuss rigorous studies documenting singlism in domains such as housing and taxes, and talk about the psychology behind it. Some of those posts (for example, about people clinging to mythologies of marriage) were very popular ones. I’ll also include posts in which I discuss the dilemmas of being targeted with singlism, and the hazards of pointing it out.
The singlism book will include a section tentatively titled, “Singlism’s cousin: Prejudice and discrimination against adults with no children.” This is a topic that seems to be coming up more often these days, so it may be time for me to say more about it.
Also included will be my recent posts, Where’s our singles movement?, and Stopping singlism: What will work?. That’s where you come in. I was so impressed by some of the personal experiences described in the comments section that I immediately realized that I should add another section to my singlism book. I think other readers will be as inspired as I was by the scope and creativity of the experiences you described. So…
Do you have any personal experiences of standing up to singlism that you would like me to include in my singlism book? If so, please share them with me by emailing them to me at BellaDePaulo [at] gmail.com, or by posting them in the comments section here or at this Living Single post (with a note that it is OK for me to include the experiences in my book). Please also let me know how you would like me to identify you (commenter name, real first name, or real full name? Is there anything else you would like me to say about you?).
Do you have any personal stories relevant to the experience of being “Single at Heart”? When I turn to that book, I think it would be wonderful to share stories from other people who are single at heart. The stories might include, for example, how you realized you were single at heart, what (if anything) stood in the way of realizing that, what you especially love about your single life, or anything else you would like to share. Again, let me know what name to use with your story, and what else (if anything) you would like me to say about you. If, for example, you have a blog or a book, I’d be happy to mention that. Or you may want to mention something about your background or interests.
[You can find links to all of my books, and pictures of their covers, here.]