Why self-publishing is about to blow your mind

Oh, it’s a glorious day. At long, long, long last, my postmodern photography book, “the irrationality of fact,” has been self-published. Here is the artist statement. At the end of the post is a preview, and a link to order (should you so choose).

“The irrationality of fact” intends to explore the limits of discourse; the fragility of the relationship between the signifier and the signified, between the word and the object; the endless deferral of meaning; containment, borders, boundaries; lines to be crossed, lines always already crossed.

It aims to examine the binaries natural, deviant; masculine, feminine; madness, sanity; soul, body; being, becoming; cause, effect; inclusion, exclusion; and how they collapse, having always already been one and the same.

It is inspired by Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Judith Butler, Antonin Artaud, Karl Marx Friedrich Nietszche, Lissa Skitolsky and Gordon Harkins.

But this post isn’t just about me. It’s about you.

Self-publishing services, like Blurb.com, are revolutionary to so many fields. Art, music, academia, philosophy, and of course literature (and basically any field you can think of). While publishing companies serve a noble and valuable purpose, there’s something authoritarian about the whole system that rubs me the wrong way.

Perhaps it’s how similar it is to the news industry.

Remember that thing I wrote about objectivity? How editors have no choice but to show bias just by way of what stories they deem important enough to print? Well, publishers, of course, work the same way. And in both industries, it just has to be done.  Not everything can be published, so choices have to be made. It’ s not a flaw or a fault, just a characteristic that has both positive and negative repercussions.

Blurb, however, changes everything.

It deletes the mediator. It negates the idea that “Not everything can be published.” Now, everything can be published. Everything. Forever. This is awesome.

Okay, I can see the downsides — and there are a lot of them. But, think about it. You could be the Galileo of our age. You could have the craziest, most out there idea, that no one will legitimize through publishing, but it turns out your idea is actually totally valid, and, dare I say, right. Blurb doesn’t care who you are. Blurb is for books what YouTube is for broadcast journalism, or MTV, or record companies. It’s democracy at its best. It’s the marketplace of ideas.

Right, right, I don’t mean to romanticize. What I mean is that it’s a game-changer.

It was my photography professor, Gordon Harkins, who introduced me to this marvel. Each year in his Advanced Photography class, students must work together to build a book representing the class body of work for that semester. For an A grade, each student must make her own as well. Books are free to build, and cost money only to purchase when finished. The author may choose whether or not to collect a profit, and how much it is. The books are always archive-quality, and have a plethora of features customizing cover material, paper grade, and book dimensions. There are approximately umpteen ways to make your layout. You can design the book offline through their software, online (with limited options) from anywhere, or even convert any design program to a PDF, which converts seamlessly into a book on Blurb. I know, I’m an advertisement. But hear me out.

In the same way Blurb represents an endless array of options for ideas, Blurb also delivers (almost) just as many options to the artists it serves. Just beautiful.

I know you’ve had a thought that you can’t stop thinking. An idea for a photo essay, a dissertation you can’t believe you wrote, a brilliant body of research, a philosophy you yearn to share. DO IT. Don’t hesitate. You won’t regret it.