I think all writers agree that getting published can be next to impossible for the novice writer (unless you’re a celebrity!). This means that more and more of us are turning to self-publishing as a way of getting our books out there. Paul Chiswick has experience of several self-published projects and has now written a book on the subject. Here he is with some advice for anyone thinking of going down the self-publishing route:
Everyone’s reason for producing his or her ‘book’ will be different. You may want it purely for posterity, a record of your own life. How many of us would love to know more about our grandparents and great-grandparents? Or you may be convinced you are the next JK Rowling, destined for fame and fortune. If only!
First things first: there’s a hurdle called publishing planted between you and your dream. Once upon a time, publishers were far more willing to publish an unknown author. They trusted their judgement, and knowledge of their readers. However, consolidation and an emphasis on profitability have changed the publishing world, perhaps forever. Look around you on the shelves of bookshops and supermarkets. Nowadays, a very large proportion of books published each year are by ‘celebrities’, who may or may not have written, or indeed have had much input into, the book that appears under their name. Either that or they are by well-established and successful authors. Naturally, these books are easier to sell. As a result, the highly competitive market for unknown authors has shrunk dramatically over the last few years.
Is there an alternative? You bet! Publish it yourself.
How do you do it? Here are four of the most common ways:
- The publisher takes your manuscript and carries out the complete publishing process. He charges you a fee, which covers the entire costs of production and distribution. This is exactly what a traditional publisher does, except in traditional publishing the publisher bears all the cost and assumes the risks. This is a growing area of self-publishing, and new entrants are coming into the market all the time. Expect pricing to become more aggressive and competitive.
- The services of the publisher are dispensed with altogether. You carry out all the stages of production and distribution. The only part of the physical process you won’t be able to undertake is the actual printing and binding of the books. A printer specializing in book production would undertake this for you. If this is an option that interests you, I suggest you acquire a copy of my eBook, The Practical Guide to Self-Publishing, a snip at only £3.99! Available from Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo, Amazon, Apple and Diesel.
- You produce everything in digital format on your PC and then employ Print On Demand technology. Print On Demand (sometimes termed Publish On Demand) arrived with the advent of digital printing when the printing of single copies of a document became economically viable. Using this technology, copies of the book are not printed until an order has been received.
- You produce everything in digital format on your PC, then produce, market and sell it as an eBook, often on your own website or through an online retailer such as Amazon.
What are you waiting for? Get publishing!