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home : arts & entertainment : arts & entertainment October 18, 2017

11/12/2013 12:04:00 PM
Local author believes in self-publishing
Karen Gilden, right, has been teaching Sisters writers about self-publishing. photo provided
+ click to enlarge
Karen Gilden, right, has been teaching Sisters writers about self-publishing. photo provided

By Jim Cornelius
News Editor

Sisters author Karen Gilden is a believer in the brave new world of self-publishing.

After enjoying success with "Tea & Bee's Milk: Our Year in a Turkish Village," (2006), she has now released "Camping with the Communists."

The book is a memoir of a six-week camping trip through the Soviet Union in 1977.

"It was a fascinating experience and one that very few Americans experienced. We drove 3,800 miles (6,100 kilometers) through four republics - Russia, Estonia, Ukraine and Georgia - on our own and without a guide or a tour group," Gilden says. "It was an adventure, a slog, an eye-opening experience."

E-books, social media and a massive shake-up in traditional publishing has erased the stigma that once attached to self-publishing. For Gilden, it is a way of reaching readers quickly and directly.

"I'm basically very impatient, and it takes a long time to get through an agent or a publisher," she said.

She's come close several times to a traditional publishing deal, "but it always fell through at the last minute."

Self-publishing eliminates those frustrations and gives the savvy writer an unprecedented level of control, not only of the content but of design and marketing.

"It's fun," Gilden says. "I find it fun. I like the whole process."

Of course, self-publishing also puts all of the work of marketing a book on the shoulders of the writer. There are many platforms for getting your book "out there."

"A lot of it depends on the personality of the writer," Gilden says. "I'm not very comfortable pushing my book."

She's worked with book clubs and on a variety of social media.

"I do what I can," she says. "I do what I'm comfortable with."

She notes that "Tea & Bee's Milk: Our Year in a Turkish Village," now sells numerous copies a month on Amazon, without any push at all.

"I don't do anything," she said. "It's word-of-mouth mostly. You have to hope for that."

Gilden shares what she has learned about the evolving world of self-publishing in classes through Sisters Park & Recreation District. One recently wrapped up and another is scheduled for January. Contact SPRD at 541-549-0291 for more information.

To find out more about Gilden and her books, visit

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