Poets & Writers

The Savvy Self-Publisher

DEBRA ENGLANDER is a freelance editor and writer in New York City. She managed a business-book program at John Wiley & Sons for nearly seventeen years and previously worked at Money magazine and Book-of-the-Month Club. She has written about business and books for numerous publications, including USA Today, Good Housekeeping, and Publishers Weekly.

AT ITS core, a personal essay is an author’s attempt to work his or her way through a question, a struggle, or an experience, and to share that story with others. The best essays look not just inward but connect to a broader audience—and might even become part of a greater conversation or mission. That possibility is what led Vinnie Kinsella to publish his anthology, Fashionably Late: Gay, Bi, and Trans Men Who Came Out Later in Life, in 2016. In November 2013 Kinsella founded the PDX Late Bloomers Club in Portland, Oregon, a support group for older men to share their experiences, struggles, and feelings associated with coming out. Hearing those stories inspired Kinsella to publish a book of personal essays that would reach the many people who may not have such groups available in their local communities. Kinsella, a publishing consultant in Portland, served as the editor of the anthology and contributed his own piece to the book, which he self-published and released on Coming Out Day in October of last year. I spoke with Kinsella, who is also the author of the guide A Little Bit of Advice for Self-Publishers, about the publishing process, and I consulted Amy Hundley, senior editor and rights director at Grove Press, and Michele Karlsberg, an experienced LGBTQ publicist, for some perspective on marketing and promotion.

The Author’s Approach

I’ve had

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