Can Amazon Save Your Life?

This post, by Brandon G. Withrow, originally appeared on The Huffington Post on 6/27/12.

This last week I went to Amazon to look for a book. Did you know they sell those too?

Their home page directed me to an article (also published here at The Huffington Post) by Jessica Park ("How Amazon Saved My Life"), author of several books, but whose book Flat-Out Love is her first Amazon book. Needless to say, Park is exuberant about her work with Amazon and for Amazon the feeling appears mutual.

Most of Park’s books were traditionally published under a standard contract with all its usual difficulties and blessings. Her article is an interesting look at the pros of self-publishing with a big force like Amazon and includes the benefits from choosing your own cover to the potential to make big money.

I admit that I was intrigued by the money side first. After all, as a traditionally published author, I (like so many others) hope to at least earn as much from the book as I spent in buying coffee while I wrote it.

Up until now, and outside of blogging, I’ve not given self-publishing too much thought. Part of the reason for that is the reputation that the self-publishing world has — whether it is deserved or not — for being average or even subpar. I am also a professor, meaning that promotion and tenure are things that require a certain publication history not generally associated with the self-publishing book world at this point.

Park pulled no punches in her opinion of traditional publishing, and her belief in the superiority of self-publishing was far from reserved. Declaring anything one’s savior is usually a bravado reserved for religious tracts. Should it be followed-up with "Amazon has a wonderful plan for your life?"

Despite the usual criticism of self-published books, I had an experience recently that reduced some of my skepticism of that industry.

I received an email a little while back from Nick Frieseler, a debut author. He asked me to look over his manuscript for his forthcoming book, Imago Dei: The Evolution of Man in the Image of God (WinePress Publishing). In this, Frieseler suggests a theological solution for discussions of evolution and Christianity. Reading my articles here at the Huffington Post on religion and evolution, he thought I could offer suggestions.


Read the rest of the post on The Huffington Post.