There are a number of examples of people bold enough and entrepreneurial enough to create and publish their own books, often leading to being traditionally published and marketed.
Christopher Paolini began writing “Eragon” at the age of 15 and his parents decided to self-publish the novel, which was re-published by Alfred A. Knopf.
“The Artist’s Way” began as a collection of “tips and hints from different artists and authors” by Julia Cameron and Mark Bryan. After it was turned down by literary agency William Morris, they self-published it and it was later published by Jeremy Tarcher (Penguin) in 1992.
The book was eventually put into the “Self-Publishing Hall of Fame” after “selling millions of copies worldwide.” [Wikipedia]
Author and personal development coach Tama Kieves self-published her first book “This Time I Dance!: Creating the Work You Love” and its level of popularity led to Tarcher/Penguin re-publishing new editions.
Kieves talks about a number of challenges she faced after graduating with honors from Harvard Law School, and feeling compelled to leave her career as “an overworked attorney” to follow her “soul’s haunting desire to become a writer.”
One kind of reaction she talks about was from her mother, who told her, “You want to be a writer? You’re going to starve.”
In her new book “Inspired and Unstoppable” she writes, “As a creative individual, visionary leader, independent thinker, soul-healer, or entrepreneur, it’s your birthright to utilize other talents, insights, resources, and innate strategies. You are not made to fit into the world…but to remake the world, heal the world, and illuminate new choices and sensibilities.”
In a brief audio clip from The New Wealth Experience conference, she talks about how she thought about “dreamers” very positively but how dismissive many people are, using terms like “navel-gazer” or “wool-gatherer” – not exactly labels that say it is worth our attention and energy to be a creative visionary or dreamer.
Hear the clip in my post Tama Kieves on inspired desire and new directions.
I thought of Kieves when reading a recent news article about Harry “Skip” Brittenham, an entertainment attorney with clients such as Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks, and Bob and Harvey Weinstein. Age 71, he has co-written the sci-fi graphic novel “Anomaly.”
It sounds like a very interesting project – described in the article as “a hardcover tome featuring 21,600 illustrated panels, splashed across 378 pages, weighing 6.4 pounds and selling for $75 [much less on Amazon].
“It comes with an ‘augmented reality’ app [iPhone and iPad] that makes 3-D images pop out of its pages. The tablet version costs only $10 but features 16 actors voicing 90 parts, along with an extra 120 pages of background material.”
His inspiration may have begun in 1964 when Brittenham read “The Fellowship of the Ring,” the first installment of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” series.
He “started writing four years ago after he was challenged by his wife to exercise his creative side,” the article notes. After working six months on an outline, he searched for a partner and connected with artist Brian Haberlin.
Brittenham funded the publishing himself, with profits from venture-capital investments – but admits he “would never advise one of my clients to do this.”
He thinks the story is not “just superheroes defeating bad guys. I want the books to be about something.” Publishers Weekly describes it as “a spectacular work.”
Brittenham says, “I did this to have fun, so whatever happens, I’m good with it.” But he notes, “Writing is much harder than I thought. It’s a lot of fun when you’re on a roll and feel good about what you’re doing. But when you’re hung up, not so much.”
[From An entertainment attorney’s sci-fi heart, by Ben Fritz, Los Angeles Times, November 29, 2012.]
You may not have the financial resources of people like Brittenham or Kieves – resources which can undeniably help – but there are still many inner challenges we can and do face in creating; it’s worth being clear about what those are, and dealing with them as much as you can.
If you feel inspired to publish your own writing, you can start by, for example, creating a blog for free on WordPress.com and other platforms. The resources below can help you publish a book or other format of your creative work.
Inheritance Cycle (Boxed Set: Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr, Inheritance), by Christopher Paolini.
Anomaly, by Skip Brittenham (Author), Brian Haberlin (Illustrator).
This Time I Dance!: Creating the Work You Love, by Tama Kieves.
Inspired and Unstoppable, by Tama Kieves.
Current digital technologies and companies like Amazon.com, Lulu.com and iUniverse are making self-publishing relatively easy.
Kindle Direct Publishing – allows authors to publish to the Kindle library on Amazon.com.
CreateSpace – Media formats for self-publishing include books, DVDs, CDs, video downloads and Amazon MP3s.
[I use KDP for my two Kindle ebooks, and CreateSpace for the print version of my book Developing Multiple Talents: The personal side of creative expression.]
Article: How to Self Publish a Book, by Shelley Hitz.
Her website, Self Publishing Coach, provides resources, tutorials, free reports and training to help you publish and market your book.
The image is from my post about The Writer’s Circle program by creativity coach Jenna Avery.