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Oct 10 / King Kaufman

Journalist self-publishes Dan Savage ebook, writes about how and why

Remember that literary agent and multimedia book packager I mentioned recently who said, “My position in publishing is as close as you can get to the author, and that’s the best place to be.”

Well, you can’t get any closer to the author than being the author. Journalist Mark Oppenheimer has taken the best job in the business by self-publishing his ebook about Dan Savage, the advice columnist and activist behind the “It Gets Better” phenomenon.

The 12,000-word book I put up for sale on the web Wednesday … was not the product of a collaboration with Kindle Singles,,, or any of the other worthy efforts at getting high-quality short books into the hands of the masses. Instead, I formatted the book for Kindle, Nook, etc. all by myself, using an open platform at, and am now marketing it through a host site called

Oppenheimer writes that he decided to go the ebook route because he had a lot of good material left over after writing a profile of Savage for the New York Times Magazine, and he decided to self-publish because he wanted creative control over the book and he liked the idea of getting “almost 90 cents on the dollar from my hosting service, rather than a much lower cut from (although I am also selling through Amazon).”

Oppenheimer warns that anyone wanting to self-publish should be prepared to spend around $500 for the services of a good editor, unless you, like he, happen to be married to one who’ll do it for free. “But that $500 would be about it,” he writes. “The platforms and hosting services now make this very, very easy.

So: Got a book in you?

  • Ken Kraetzer

    Yes, have been working on a manuscript for several years about the veterans from the community I grew up in, primarily from the WWII era. Have about 90 pages single spaced done. One of the highly decorated soldiers we discovered went to Columbia after the war and played in the famous upset win that broke West Point’s winning streak in 1947. The 65th anniversary of that game is in a couple of weeks. A three sport athlete from the high school died as a fighter pilot in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Struggle in finishing is trying to find answers to several lagging questions. Perhaps e-publishing allows an author to go out with an initial version and then add to a later one once more research is available.