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In honor of Library Lovers day, students, media assistant discuss the spiking trend of self-publishing

Zoe Tu
Senior Nick Stitle works on his next book on at the CHS Media Center on Feb 8th, 2024. The next book of Stitle’s ‘The Stormless’ series is set to release sometime in 2024.

The first of three annual book publishing seasons may have begun, but media assistant Terri Spilman said those processes can differ because of the varying ways of publishing.

“There are a lot of different ways to get published now,” Spilman said. “It depends what your personal goals are as to why you want to be published, who you want to read your book and if you want to make money off of it.”

Junior Jahnavi Avula and senior Srinija Darapureddy know about the publishing process from experience, having co-published a book together in 2023. Avula said books can be published when there’s a need for knowledge or there’s a message to share. 

Arielle Fotso

“My friend Srinija Darapureddy and I wrote the book Women of Color in STEM,” Avula said. “It is about 13 women of color both from the past and the present who have made significant contributions to the fields of STEM. Our book aims to inspire young children, especially young girls, to break through barriers and stereotypes and to pursue their dreams.”

Like Avula and Darapureddy, senior Nick Stitle is a self-published author, having written Stormless, a fantasy novel with multiple story lines relating to ancient magic. Stitle said his choice of self-publishing had many reasons behind it. 

“I decided to self-publish because it’s really competitive to get an agent and primarily to get my book out there a little faster,” Stitle said. “The way I did that was personally hire an editor, a cover artist and a proofreader and we put all of it together to get the book out there.”

According to WordsRated, the amount of self-published books has increased by 264% in the past five years. However, despite that increase Avula said the publishing process was still difficult. 

“The publishing process was undoubtedly the hardest part of the entire process,” Avula said. “Srinija and I self-published the book so we had to deal with everything on our own. We published the book via Amazon, and there were many technical aspects that we struggled a lot with.”

Although self-publishing may come with challenges, Spilman said it has completely shifted the ways books are being published. 

“Self-publishing has been a game changer for a lot of authors,” Spilman said, “but you could also send a proposal to a book publisher. If they’re really good, they can send a proposal to an agent who can pitch it for them.”

Stitle said self-publishing also includes other actions to be taken by the author.  

“The editing and proofreading got tedious by the fourth and fifth read throughs of the book,” Stitle said. “For the publishing process, the focus was also on marketing the book and getting it out there without spending way too much money.”

Avula said these extra procedures that come with self-publishing might make it less appealing to authors. 

“Since self-publishing is now easier than before, we might have more self-published books than ever,” Avula said. “However, I do think that it is better to publish with a company because they will help a lot with advertising, editing and many other things.”

Spilman said a reason self-publishing has become easier or more accessible is due to technology.

Spilman said, “Years ago, people hand-wrote their books out, and now you can use publishing softwares to get it ready. Technology has changed everything.”

As technology changes methods of publishing, Stitle said the industry is also adapting.

“It’s interesting to think about where the book publishing industry is going,” Stitle said. “A lot of the popular authors’ books are coming from self-publishing places and they are marketing on platforms like Instagram or Tiktok. I think social media is going to play an increasing role in deciding which books are popular.”

Avula said social media gives authors another chance to use their voice to spread their message. 

Senior Nick Stitle types on his computer as he prepares for his next novel. “I often also type in green text, as I find that it’s easier on my eyes,” said Stitle. (Zoe Tu)

“[Technology] allows authors from all around the world to publish their works on bigger platforms and it increases the amount of opportunities many have,” Avula said.

With the publishing industry growing, Spilman said there are many resources for students who need help getting started. 

“Students looking to publish books can start in the media center,” she said. “We have several resources on how to do that. It’s also good to talk to other people that have been published. We have a couple of teachers that have been published and other students.”

Avula said she found determining the inspiration and message of the book to help with the writing and publishing process. 

“If you want to publish a book, find someone who will hold you accountable,” Avula said, “but also make sure that you first know why you are interested in writing a book, once you find that reason you will be motivated to write and publish it.”

Spilman said students who are interested in publishing a book should keep writing and not get discouraged. 

“The number of rejections authors get is astounding,” Spilman said. “You need to just plug away and keep at it. And with the advent of self-publishing, if you really want to publish, you can. Nothing’s getting it your way.”

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