Nevertheless, part of the reason for the negative stigma is that many self-published books, particularly in past decades, were of dubious quality.For example, in 1995, a retired TV repairman self-published his autobiography in which he described how he had been stepped on by a horse when he was a boy, how he had been almost murdered by his stepfather when he was a young man in Mexico, and how his ex-wife had clawed his face with her fingernails.

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Franklin Hiram King's book Farmers of Forty Centuries was self-published in 1911, and was subsequently published commercially.

In 1931 the author of The Joy of Cooking paid a local printing company to print 3000 copies; the Bobbs-Merrill Company acquired the rights, and since then the book has sold over 18 million copies.

Most self-published books sell very few copies, Self-publishing is not a new phenomenon but has been around since the invention of writing.

After the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in 1440, numerous books have been self-published.

These companies offer the cachet of being published and make the majority of their income on fees for intangible services paid for by the author in advance of publication, rather than afterwards from sales revenue.

Accordingly, the line between vanity publishing and traditional publishing has become increasingly blurred in recent years.although there are many signs that this is changing.The image of self-publishing has been improving, since many well-known writers, who generate high quality content, have first started by self-publishing, or have switched from traditional publishing to self-publishing.According to some views, the stigma of self-publishing is gone entirely, Book critic Ron Charles in the Washington Post complained in an opinion piece that “No, I don’t want to read your self-published book”, citing concerns that there were too many published authors, and that self-published books lacked quality, and were published by authors with little understanding of the audience or the market.For decades, the literary world dismissed self-published authors as amateurs and hacks who lacked the talent to land a book deal.An author who simply uploads a manuscript to an online service like Kindle or Smashwords, and who then expects a bestseller without doing vital marketing and promotion efforts, might be described as doing vanity publishing.