Skip to main content

Joint Session ACCUTE/ Bibliographical Society of Canada

@ Congress of the Humanities and SocialSciences in Victoria, BC (June 2013)

Title of Session: Publishing and Self-Publishing

Organizer: Lise Jaillant (University of British Columbia)

Do writers really need publishers? With the growing popularity of ebooks, commentators have announced “the death of the publisher.” Some self-publishers (now known as indie authors) are outselling writers published by traditional firms. But of course, self-publishing is not a new practice. What does it mean to self-publish in the 18th and 19th century? Why did so many modernist writers choose to bypass traditional publishers? The relationship between publishing and self-publishing is not necessarily antagonistic. Victorian publishing firms often relied on commission agreements, wherein authors undertook the financial risk of publication. In France, Marcel Proust famously started his career as a self-published writer before being published by Gallimard. Self-publishers, however, have long been dismissed as “vanity authors.” With the rise of bestselling “indie authors,” self-publishing seems less stigmatized. Does it mean that traditional publishers are in danger of extinction? Or is publishing still burning bright?

For the fifth annual joint session between ACCUTE and the BSC, papers are invited on the topic of publishing and self-publishing in any place or period. Panel participants will be encouraged to submit full-length versions of their paper to the Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada for possible publication.

Please send proposals by 15 November to, including the following (as specified on the ACCUTE web site,
• A file containing a 300-500 word proposal, without personal identifying marks
• A file containing a 100 word abstract and a 50 word biographical statement
• The Proposal Submissions Information Sheet