David Mamet’s decision to self-publish his latest book through a new service offered by his literary agency, ICM Partners, adds fuel to the debate raging over whether authors will do better on their own than with a traditional publishing house.
“The announcement by ICM and Mr. Mamet suggests that self-publishing will begin to widen its net and become attractive also to more established authors.” Leslie Kaufman wrote last week in the New York Times.
The news has drawn hundreds of responses from bloggers, authors and others, including bookseller Marion Abbott, who in the Sunday edition of the Times warned about the perils of self-publishing.
The latest post by Huffpo blogger Julie Gerstenblatt offers a cautionary tale that echoes Abbott’s sentiments.
A far more optimistic picture comes from Jon R. Anderson of the Navy Times, who on Friday urged service members to get their story out, writing, “While self-publishing used to bear the vanity press stigma… independent publishing is quickly becoming the preferred road to readers for many authors.”
Self-publishing has indeed borne a stigma, even though it has a history to be proud of. Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass,” Irma S. Rombauer’s “Joy of Cooking,” and Christopher Paolini’s “Eragon” are prominent examples of self-published works from the 19th, 20th and 21st Centuries. Is that stigma now gone? Maybe not, but the stigma seems to be fading as the economics of self-publishing improve for some authors.