And why you should.
“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” ― Haruki Murakami
A large volume of books are released each year. These are either traditionally published and or self-published. These are by the famous authors and by the unknown. But a bigger chunk of this volume is self-published, by the unknown. In 2017, it was recorded that more than a million books were self-published, that is according to the latest report from ProQuest affiliate Bowker. This means that self-publishing continues to thrive each year.
Unfortunately, many of those are barely getting attention from the majority of readers. Many of my friends don’t even know about what is a self-published book. Every time I get to speak with them about a latest read and share our comments, our conversation always points to books that are seen in bookstores, those best-selling books, the ones topping the charts, or those that have been read by many. Well, almost all of our favorites have been produced by large companies. They've sold thousands and millions already. Some started being self-published until they received a contract. Well-funded and wider promotional strategies are deployed by the publishing house, or by the authors themselves who already have a huge following (online nowadays) and received by a larger group of audience.
With all of those books that have reached commercial success, there is a bigger stack of scarcely noticed books. And I’ve read a number of books by self-published authors, and to my surprise, many of those are really excellent material. The first time I read one, few years ago, was when I was browsing Amazon.com to search for good titles. And then I found something that grabbed my attention. The front cover seemed to be professionally designed. I read the synopsis and I thought I’m going to have to read it. Gladly the Kindle format was so cheap I immediately purchased it. With my reading device, I started reading it. And boom! I was blown away as I continued to read through the pages. The whole story was completely unique. The narrative was simply smooth and the character development was superb. And the end was astonishing I was not able to recover for days. It was something I’ve never read before. I googled the author and I had a difficult time getting information about him. Eventually I found out that it was published by a self-publishing company. Published by someone with no solid fan base, if I may say. By a self-published author.
Some publish a book for their own personal desire, some leave it as their legacy to their family. Some do it in order to inspire and encourage. And some are just natural-born story-tellers. There are fiction or a non-fiction stories, and each brought a different level of excitement, thrill, uniqueness, and even entertainment. You could find stories of love and heartbreak, triumph and downfall, gain and loss, sacrifice and abuse, religion and spirituality, and many more.
I got to read more and more self-published books by buying them online. I could nowhere find them in my local bookstores. So I mixed buying best-selling books and the “not so best-selling” novels, poetry, biography, and other stuff. There are some of them out there that have now made grounds and successfully established a crowd. But a greater number of these have failed to take off. Mostly because of lack of publicity, support, and probably effort. There you can arguably compare the quality of a work that has gone through several hands in a publishing house, and those that are solely handled by an independent author. I’ve seen and read some of those that were poorly made. Perhaps, those authors did not have the time to polish them. They did not have the money to pay for professional editors resulting for some textual and grammar lapses, lack of depth, and stilted writing springing into a hard to read narrative. But beyond this, there are more remarkable stories waiting to be heard, read and acknowledged, penned by those “nobody” writers who have come from different parts of the world, and which stories have taken root from different life-experiences and incredible talents.
Now, my advice for those who want to explore other great reads—there’s a whole new different way to capture marvelous stories previously unheard of. Pick your genre and start digging the self-published category. You are surely in to a whole new experience. Who knows, that could be turned soon to a series or movie before others could read it. More importantly you’ll find stories that will tear your heart apart, inspire you to take a giant leap or a similar path as theirs, or take valuable lessons you have not yet discovered, or simply just another pastime. That work may have to be from someone who may or may not become known someday, and the price is you could get the best out of them which others have not yet found in their lifetime.