Traditional publishing houses are feeling double the crunch from the recent economic downturn. Not only are budgets being cut, but big publishing is undergoing a transformation as e-books are making a significant impact in the way books are published. The Kindle and other e-readers (Sony and iPhone) are reducing the amont of printed and bound books. On top of that, self-publishing giants like Lulu, iUniverse, and Amazon’s BookSurge are making it easy for writers to print their books outside the big publishing arena.

This week we’ll chat with self-pubbed authors, as well as independent editors, publicists, e-blook authors, self-publishing brands and POD printers about alternate routes to publishing. Monday will be open chat.

Elizabeth Burton

Elizabeth Burton

On Wednesday, we’ll talk with ElizabethK. Burton, who has been executive editor or Zumaya Publications since 2003 and took charge of the publisher’s operations in July 2006. Zumaya was established in 1999 by authors Tina Havemen and Diana Kent Jones and incorporated in 2006.

Initially, Zumaya opted for print on demand (POD) for the simple reason it was the economical way to produce print books. Zumaya does not require any author financial participation; set-up and production costs have always been Zumaya’s responsibility. As Elizabeth became immersed in the business of publishing–up till then she was a writer and editor-she saw the wastefulness of the existing business model as unacceptable. (Overprinting and remaindering books.) After some research, she determined POD can be more economical and environmentally friendly.

zumayalogoAccording to Elizabeth, Zumaya’s inventory-free business model distinguishes them among other alternative literary publishers. Zumaya doesn’t do print runs unless they’ve been ordered. Zumaya is committed to presenting quality books by talented authors and leaving behind as little environmental footprint as possible.

Carmen Shirkey

Carmen Shirkey

l recap the week’s discussion with guest host and author Carmen Shirkey. Carmen published her novel The List through BookSurge.

Carmen received two degrees in Rhetoric and Communications and History from the University of Virginia (she’s a crazy Wahoos fan) where she was also a member of Alpha Xi Delta sorority. She then proceeded to become a gypsy – moving from city to city. Currently, she resides in Virginia, but who knows where she’ll end up next. Her cat, Pooh Bear, who is also a character in The List, would prefer to stay in one place long enough to adequately mark his territory.

The List, by Carmen Shirkey (BookSurge)

Aside from writing, Carmen’s passion is travel. She once got a fortune cookie that said “you will step on the soil of many countries” and took it seriously. She hopes that enough people will buy her book so that she can go on permanent vacation, instead of packing all her travel into two measly weeks a year. That’s how much vacation she gets in her full-time gig as a Web editor. Carmen Shirkey was born in Staunton, VA, and The List is her debut novel.