Local authors talk about self-publishing their books



If there is one crucial point that Charmain Zimmerman Brackett makes about publishing, it’s this: Authors have more options than ever, and they should use them.

The award-winning Augusta author has in­de­pendently published four books through Diamond Key Press – her own creation: “I basically became my own publishing house.”

Brackett chose to steer clear of traditional publishers after extensive research and input from fellow authors, saying, “These companies that sell you huge publishing packages – they’re rip-offs.”

Today’s publication market offers a wide array of publishing options that can increase profits for authors willing to do more work themselves. Brackett is able to order copies of her novels – The Key of Elyon, for example – as needed through CreateSpace, an Amazon company.

Brackett outsourced for services such as editing, graphic design and formatting.

After finishing each book, she purchased an international standard book number, or ISBN, and barcode from Bowker, another online tool for authors, giving her sole ownership of her work.

“There are some really fine lines when it comes to truly self-publishing, but the bottom line comes from that ISBN. It’s mine – not CreateSpace’s title. That’s important to me,” she said.


Tommy Scott Hudson said the publication of his first book, Augusta’s WGAC: The Voice of the Garden City for Seventy Years, resulted in heavy-handed edits and a 14 percent profit from sales.

The radio reporter knew that his next book, a political commentary with a pistol-clad George Washington gracing the cover, would face even harsher edits from publishers: “I didn’t want anyone going back in and editing after I’d already had friends help edit … and doggone it, I wanted that cover!”

Hudson decided to self-publish The Contract on the Government (and its controversial cover art) using CreateSpace printing services and took all other publishing duties into his own hands.

This included up-front costs, editing and marketing – responsibilities the author says he is willing to shoulder to maintain the integrity of his work.

Self-publishing a book is like running a business, Hudson said. After purchasing the book’s ISBN, barcode and Web site space, he took his one-man marketing team to every available venue: radio broadcasts, Facebook, blogs, online forums – he says he even sent a copy to Sarah Palin.

“The process of writing a book will never change … but the publishing industry has changed,” he said. “Large publishers are making big profits off work I can do myself.”


For career bank executive Pat Blanchard, whether to self-publish his first book, Starting at the Top, was never a question.

“It was recommended so strongly to me that I never really looked at any other alternatives,” Blanchard said.

The process of publication was straightforward and simple. Blanchard turned to trusted friends for initial feedback and sought professional editorial services. He later enlisted local graphic design company Kruhu to arrange and format his work.

Upon the book’s completion, Blanchard filed Starting at the Top through the Library of Congress with the help of an attorney, providing the author with all rights to his intellectual property.

Through Amazon’s CreateSpace, Blanchard’s book is now printed and shipped on request.

“All of it just made perfect sense,” he said. “Amazon has a very good system, and I’m very pleased with them.”

– Katherine Sims, correspondent