Well, it’s been around five months since I decided to self-publish a collection of my dark speculative short stories, The Hours of Creeping Night.
I haven’t been actively promoting it, so I didn’t expect much to happen. My agent actually bought a copy before he decided to offer me representation (though the offer was more about my novel). Interestingly, both he and one of the reviewers picked out my story ‘Dead Cell’ (zombie outbreak in a prison, told from the inmates’ perspective) as the best of the selection, despite a few of my beta readers not particularlly liking the story. Just goes to show how different people enjoy different stories.
At one point, I decided to make the price on Smashwords free just to get some exposure, so Amazon matched that for two months. I checked in with the figures today – and wow! Two thousand copies were downloaded in two months, ranking the ebook #41 in the Amazon.com short story Kindle chart.
Only 74 copies were downloaded from Smashwords, and less than ten from Amazon.co.uk… So I guess the US Amazon site is the one to focus on.
Out of those two thousand copies, only two people left a review, but they were great reviews!
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ Decent book
May 29, 2012, By DareT0Dream
This book is one of many short story books ive read this year. I am actually taking the time to review this book, which means I liked it enough to spend some of my time. The only reason I am giving it a 4 rather than a 5, is because i feel it should of been longer, maybe 30 pages longer. I was so close on getting my fix, that when it ended it left me “unsatisfied”. But other than that great job, i dont want to spoil it for other readers but, one story in the book Dead Cell should be made as a stand alone book.
The Hours of Creeping Night is a collection of short stories that encompass the surrealism of the late hours of the night, when the coming dawn feels like an impossible dream. This 11,000 word ebook is filled with weird and morbid tales of mechanical creatures, living forests, zombies, wedigo and other monsters, while exploring the darkness of human nature in various strange fictional worlds. Read more about the stories inside…
You can buy from the following places… The pricing is a little mixed at the moment, depending on the vendor(!) Pricing correct at time of posting (18th June 12).
Note to self: improve immune system.
Yes, previous to the last six weeks, the last time I had a cold was the winter of 2010-11. But over the past six weeks, I’ve caught three viruses worse than the average cold. Damn you, germy world, and damn you crappy immune system.
But enough of that. You don’t want to hear about the Armageddon of snotty tissues in my bedroom. How about some publication news instead?
Today, the February issue of Yes, Poetry is out. You can download the free PDF from their website. It contains just the right amount of quirky and insightful poetry to keep you entertained. And it features my poem ‘Breathing Out’.
In Novermber 2010, I submitted a little poem to The London Magazine. In February 2011, they wrote to say my poem was accepted. Then I never heard anything back. I kept an eye on the website. Nothing. Months after this, the same poem was accepted for an anthology, but the anthology asked about publication rights. I assumed I still held all the rights as The London Magazine hadn’t published the accepted poetry, nor had a signed a contract, nor were there rights information on their website. Then by chance I saw that my poem was published by The London Magazine. Despite three emails and a promise of a contributor copy, I still haven’t received my contributor copy. If this was any other magazine, I would have been livid with their disorganisation. But its such a prestigious publication that I can’t help but still be pleased I’m included. And I really think it’s the best poem I’ve written.
You can read Napkin Swans in the Oct-Nov 2011 issue of The London Magazine.
It will also appear in The Young British Poets Oxfam Anthology, published by Cinnamon press to raise money for Oxfam.
As well as that, our Royal Holloway MA anthology, Bedford Square 5, was published in Dec 2011. It contains novel extracts and poetry from two year’s of students on the MA. It features the first chapter of my novel The Sky, The City, The Others (working title), which is a steampunk/zombie adventure story. It’s really interesting to see what all the other groups were working on. Though the general reader is unlikely to pick it up and read an anthology of extracts, it’s a good showcase for prospective students, agents and publishers. Some of us will be reading from the anthology at the Runnymede Literary Festival on Friday March 16th at the Centre for Creative Collaboration on Acton Street.
And my last piece of publication news is that I’ve taken the plunge into – gasp – self-publishing. Now, I immediately feel the need to justify myself due to the great prejudice against the notion. (I’ve written about the concept of self publishing recently, here.) I wouldn’t self-publish a novel, as I’d much rather have a team of experts working on it, as well as the quality control assurance the backing of a publisher provides.
However, I have decided to publish a handful of my short stories. Some of them have been previously published in magazines, but mostly I know that short story collections are notoriously hard to publish traditionally, and I think my collection might be too dark (and too short) for a traditional publisher. So I’ve released this collection as an ebook. It is very much an experiment, but I thought it would be interesting to see how it fares, rather than letting the stories sit, unread, on my computer.
I put a lot of thought into which stories to include. All of them are dark in nature and contain a speculative element. I had one story, that I was slightly unsure of, professionally edited. I had all the stories analysed by a handful of beta readers – these were my fellow MA or BA students, and I knew that they would be honest and critical. I gave the collection a final edit based on their suggestions. I designed the cover myself… purely because of budget. I’m pretty sure its better than most of the self-published covers…
The Hours of Creeping Night is a collection of short stories that encompass the surrealism of the late hours of the night, when the coming dawn feels like an impossible dream. This 11,000 word ebook is filled with weird and morbid tales of mechanical creatures, living forests, zombies, wedigo and other monsters, while exploring the darkness of human nature in various strange fictional worlds.
You can buy the ebook for less than two quid at:
You can view the first few pages at Amazon or Smashwords. I’ll be posting more about this project in the future.
Okay, this disgustingly self-promotional post has been long enough. Thanks for reading.
It is a very interesting time for publishing. A while ago, I wrote a post called Self-Publishing 101 in which I discussed why my thoughts on self-publishing were changing, and my observations on how to self-publish well, and self-publish badly.
The Catalyst of Technology
Technology is the biggest catalyst in the publishing world. The internet has never been more powerful. Bookshops are crumbling beneath the power of Amazon. In a global economical crisis, people are more likely to buy discounted books online than spend time travelling to and then searching bookshops for the same book at a higher price. The rise of social media has created an immense jump in word-of-mouth marketing, with thousands of review blogs, websites such as GoodReads and people chatting on Twitter and Facebook. It means as soon as we hear about a good book online, we’re only a few clicks away from buying it for ourselves.
As for ebooks, who knows how they will eventually change the face of publishing. In May 2011, Amazon announced that ebooks outsold paper books. The future of ebooks is uncertain. Will they continue to rise in popularity because of their (usually marginally) lower price, instant deliverability, and easy portability? Or will they fade away once they hype has gone and people miss the smell of good ol’ fashioned paper?
The Development of the Publishing House
The last time publishing had such a shake-up was probably with the invention of the printing press. Before publishing houses existed, books were printed and sold by the vendor. Before the 1960s, the book publishing industry was predominantly owned by mostly independent companies whose only business was books. Growing profits made them attractive to larger corporations, and eventually these big corporations also started buying out independent book shops. With the immense growth of a few major companies, the smaller companies vanished, and the big companies gained control over the publishing industry.
While corporate profits have increased (which is good news for the shareholders) the type and scope of books have decreased. Instead of risking the publication of new titles by unknown authors, these corporations tend to stick with known authors and past success formulas. This, of course, makes it difficult for new authors with new ideas to enter the marketplace. (Source)
Self-Publishing Over the Centuries
Self-publishing has been around a lot longer than recent years, and held a lot less stigma. At first, before large corporations rose up to take control of the publishing process, those who owned or had access to printing presses because their own publishers. Then, self-publishing became a means for self-expression without censorship.
In 1644, John Milton published Areopagitica, in which he notes that writers can sidestep the censorship of the church and government by publishing their own books. In 1843, Charles Dickens feuded with his publisher over low royalties and goes on to publish A Christmas Carol by his own means. In 1917, Virginia Woolf and her husband set up their own publishing house in their home. The famous writers’ bible, The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White was originally self-published in 1918. (Source.) There is a very long list of famous and successful writers who are self-published.
Power and Control in Publishing
But as the publishing world changes, the power shifts. Publishing houses churn out millions of professionally developed books, and bookshops liaise exclusively with publishers. Both the publishing houses and the bookshops develop the book market as a precise science, giving readers quality products in a highly accessible way, therefore making the biggest profit. This model remained unchanged for a long time, and has become ingrained in society’s mind as the normal and correct way the publishing industry should be set up. Publishers become the trusted experts of the industry, and readers are happy to put their faith in them without a second thought.
However, when you are a passive consumer and are not immersed in the industry, it is easy to forget that the publisher’s main goal is not to bring you wonderful books, it is to make money. Publishing is always first and foremost a business. When the publishers hold all the power of the book industry, and independent book shops are swallowed by superpowers, we get a network of superpowers that hold all the control. And we still accept this as the norm, as how it should be.
Diversity is a Strength
Diversity in the arts is always a strength. Freedom of self-expression is a human right. In theory, the rise of self-publishing in recent years, made possible by the development of technology and the social media boom, is a good thing. However, inevitably a large proportion of self-published work is of a much lower quality than the traditionally published work we are used to. It had not been through the same channels of quality assurance, it has not been produced in-line with market trends, it has not had money spent on promotion. This, understandably, is how self-publishing gets a bad name.
Self-publishing, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. Many of the products are poor, and this taints the better products before they can be judged on their own merits. It is a shame that self-publishing has such a stigma surrounding it. However, with a good product and tactful marketing, a self-published novel can be a success. Again, it comes down to technology. Print-on-demand is often expensive, but the production of an ebook is minimal. As ebooks continue to rise in popularity, and social media and the internet continues to be the most effective way of spreading word-of-mouth recommendations (the most effective marketing tool, in my opinion), self-publishing has hope.
For the author, self-publishing brings a level of control that would otherwise be stunted by a publisher, and the freedom of expression. For the reader, it expands the market. Some may say that filling the market with sub-par material is more damaging to the reader’s experience, but I have never found myself drowning in a sea of crappy self-published material, unable to surface to the good stuff, have you? Because of the way the market is set up online, we search for things that we want to find, or are automatically recommended items via clever coding. If a product is bad, it will sink and will not be visible. But if a product is good, it had a chance to rise to the top. Expanding the product range means only that there is a wider range of material that may rise to the top, and as I’ve said before, diversity is a strength. Self-publishing expands the consumer choice that superpowers have the ability to suppress.
The publishing industry has a diverse history. Its future is incredibly unpredictable. Technology today is the catalyst for its change, but the power for that change is in the hands of the reader. To me, that’s pretty exciting stuff.
Further reading: The History and Development of Book Publishing by Dr Ron Whittaker - The Early History of Books, Puritans to Pirating, Censorship and Consolidation, The Future of Books (Part 1), The Future of Books (Part 2).
Advancements in technology and social networking have created a system in which readers are more interactive, and where writers are taking publishing into their own hands. Online platforms for writers are on the rise. Iwritereadrate.com is a new website that aims to give power to readers and writers through an online critiquing community. I caught up with one of the creators to ask for more details.
Q: What makes iwritereadrate.com different from other online writing workshops?
A: www.iwritereadrate.com is first and foremost a website for unpublished writers to upload free of charge, sell, and receive constructive feedback from other writers/readers who love to find new voices and stories. We’re about helping writers improve and prove their writing to a broader audience than they would otherwise have access to. Our website will be a place where readers can find new works and ideas, and become part of the writing process and experience, a new dynamic in the relationship between writers and readers of all kinds.
As an unpublished writer myself I understand the trials, tribulations, and disappointments of sending your hard work off to agents and not getting any feedback. Our website is about building a constructive community where unpublished writers can develop and find a market for their work; I’m convinced that in today’s internet connected age that most writers will find an enthusiastic audience for their work, it’s just a matter of reaching them. Fundamentally the idea comes directly from my experience trying to get feedback on my own writing but being unsuccessful due to the large number of MS the industry professionals receive. I’m never going to know if I’ve got something interesting – or eloquent – to say if other people don’t have the ability to read and rate it.
For us, as unpublished writers, our website is all about utilising technology to help other writers like us – whatever stage of their writing journey they’re presently at. We’ve thought long and hard about what features will be beneficial and have tried to pack as many of our ideas into the site from day one. We sincerely hope that other writers will also see the site as a great way to get feedback and to be active members of the rating community.
We think they’re loads of reasons to use www.iwritereadrate.com, and each person who joins will likely find particular area’s that are of most interest to them. We’re also hoping that as well as all the features we’re packing into the site that the social element will also be something that gives writers an additional support that they didn’t have before. The only way for each individual writer or reader to find out what makes us different is to join and give us a try!
Q: What incentives are there for readers to rate work and provide feedback?
A: We’ll be running a points system from the site launch. The more you rate, the more points you’ll earn. There will be a number of levels that our members can achieve through getting involved and rating others work. We’re about building a constructive and interactive community, so rating something when you’ve read it is very much an integral part to the experience of utilising our website.
Q: How would a writer use iwritereadrate.com to sell their work?
A: It’s simple, once you’ve self-edited and got to a stage that you’re happy to put your work out there, you just login (or register!) and follow the process to upload the document, a cover picture, set the price and away you go.
Our writers will receive 60% of a Cover Price that they set themselves from a number of options in £GBP, $US, Euros, or $AUS.
Q: Would a writer have to sell their work on the site, and would the reader have to buy it before feedback is given?
A: No, writers potentially don’t have to charge for their work (depending upon total word count) and they can receive ratings even if they haven’t had anyone download their work yet. Also, readers will be able to feedback in several ways before they have to decide whether to purchase the full length work – more detail on this below.
There will be five document size bands on the site – XS/S/M/L/XL – and this will determine the pricing options available for a writer to choose from. XS and S documents will have a FREE option, if this is the writers wish. The size bands will be based upon the total word count of each document. Also, just to mention, uploading any sized document will always be completely free for the writer, and they’ll have a short Bio to sell their individual passion alongside their hard work.
In terms of feedback there will be three different levels at which a reader will rate any work – Synopsis, Preview, and Full – from the start there will be a rating system for the synopsis & preview, and an expanded rating system as well as a free-text review for the full document. We’re considering opening up a free-text review for the preview as well (this didn’t make it into the initial site build but is something we’re keen to add as soon as we can).
We think that readers will be willing to pay a reasonable price to download the full work from new writers, as long as it has been judiciously self-edited and the work is of sufficient quality.
We’re aiming to give readers the same level of information before choosing to download as they would have if they picked up a paperback in a bookstore – it will be free to view the synopsis and a short preview of the story so they can make an informed choice as to whether it is for them, and they will also be able to rate at all stages of this decision process.
Q: How would a reader know if a work has been ‘judiciously self-edited’ before they purchase it, if there are no ‘gatekeepers’ as such? And do you think readers will be willing to pay for the opportunity to critique someone else’s work?
A: It’s very much a subjective decision made by the reader based upon the impression that our writers have made with their Bio, Synopsis and Preview – all of which are free for a reader to view. We all know that when we’re in a bookstore, we pick up a paperback, read the blurb on the back and if we like the sounds of it we might open it to read the first few pages, before making the decision to buy it – it’s exactly the same principle on our website.
We hope that there will be a mix of writers at different stages of their development on our site so it will be down to the community to decide what it is that they consider a well written, well edited, and worth paying for to read the full work. The nature of the rating system will mean that the ‘best’ work is more easily accessible and visible on the site, but you’ll also be able to search by genre to drill down to find more works that are of particular interest to you as a reader. As a caveat on this, what our individual members consider ‘best’ or ‘judiciously self-edited’ will likely differ from person to person. The rating system will be designed to flatten out the averages, as a guide to what they should investigate further. For me personally I often find books that aren’t necessarily highly publicised or rated that I find well written and inspiring – hopefully this will also happen on the website.
I don’t think it’s a matter of readers paying for an opportunity to critique someone’s work: I think it’s about them accessing new writers and paying for a good read, the feedback element is about building a community around helping each other – altruistic I know, but then I’m an idealist at heart. I think there are undoubtedly a lot of diamonds out there which, for whatever reason, haven’t had any luck through the traditional channels. I absolutely do think that readers will be willing to pay for unpublished work, and the writers should polish what they have as much as they can, to ensure they have the best opportunity for positive ratings.
However, I don’t think that uploads which have spelling or grammatical mistakes (or don’t flow) will be very popular at all, so it’s important that writers do their best to self-edit if they want to get positive feedback and ultimately have their work downloaded. So whilst the site doesn’t have any official ‘gatekeepers’ the community will decide what is highly rated and what requires some further work to get it up to an appropriate standard.
We interviewed a Literary Consultant in January – Helen Corner from Cornerstones – about tips for new writers and posted her answers on our blog. We’ll also be posting a basic self-editing process that I follow on our blog during February and looking to post more about this in the future. You can take a look at these and other articles at: blog.iwritereadrate.com.
Q: In the FAQs on your site, you say that you believe it is every writer’s dream to be published in the traditional manner using the publishing industry, and that by selling work on iwritereadrate.com a writer can ‘show the industry your success’. However, by selling their work on iwritereadrate.com, a writer has self-published, which means a large publishing house is unlikely to pick up the work. What are your thoughts on this?
A: Yes, I truly believe it is every writers dream to be published in the traditional manner. However, writers already submit pretty long extracts all over the place in an effort to get feedback and support from their peers and the reading community, as the industry generally is not able to give them it. We just see our site as an extension of this. We don’t really see what we’re doing as self-publishing – we’re just providing a central platform for writers to sell their passion, their work, and get valuable feedback which is often difficult to find. If a writer wants to take down their work, for whatever reason, then they can do so at any time.
If the work is good enough it would be self-destructive for a publisher not to publish it to the mass market just because it’s been on our site. In the end the industry needs to embrace new technology – the change is happening all around us – and our website is ultimately there to help writers on their journey. Publishers shouldn’t be afraid of this, they should embrace it. We think our site has the potential in improve the quality of submissions they receive and potentially illustrate that there is a market for a particular story, which I’m sure they’ll be happy with. They should be expecting that writers need this type of support and encouragement in the very competitive environment of new fiction. Also, they should expect to see it more that motivated, pro-active, aspiring authors are searching out ways of improving their writing and should see this as an extremely positive step in the evolution of writing and publishing.
We’ll be uploading our work from the beginning, so we’re putting our money where our mouth is on this; however it still remains our dream to be published in the traditional manner. Once the site is live we’ll be trying our best, as it says in the FAQ’s section of our website, to forge strong links with industry professionals. We think that the benefits of our website significantly outweigh any old-fashioned concerns that it may raise.
Q: Though the company is new, what are your visions for the future of iwritereadrate.com?
A: We’re just taking it one step at a time at the minute. I’ve had this idea bouncing around my head for several years, and the seed is finally about to germinate thanks to the team, so just loving every minute of it. When the site is live it’ll be down to our members to make it bloom, as we’ve basically built it with them at the forefront of everything, and then we’ll see where it takes us from there.
That being said we’re constantly coming up with new idea’s for the site and people we think we should approach to join up with. It will undoubtedly evolve over time, but at the minute we’re really focused on the short term – getting the site ready for Pre-Launch uploads and then the Full Launch.
Thank you for taking the time to talk to us. I wish you the best of luck with your venture.
You can register now to be given pre-launch access, enter into a competition to win an eReader, and receive a monthly newsletter by visiting: www.iwritereadrate.com
There’s no denying it. Self-publishing is becoming more and more popular.
My position on self-publishing has always been that it’s a bad thing. It was my gut-reaction, and my logical reaction, too. But increasingly my thoughts have been slipping to the dark side…
Let’s start at the beginning of this thought process.
Why Self-Publishing a Novel is a Bad Idea
IF IT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR THE PUBLISHERS, HOW IS IT GOOD ENOUGH FOR THE PUBLIC?
I always thought that one of the main reason’s someone would self-publish is because their manuscript simply isn’t good enough for a publisher to want to invest in. Publishers know the business. If they think it ain’t good, and that it won’t sell, they’re probably right.
THERE’S NO QUALITY CONTROL.
There’s no editor, there’s no standard that has to be met, there’s no proofreader…
THEY LOOK CRAP.
Most people have no idea how to put an attractive cover together. Self-published books look bad aesthetically.
THERE’S NO ESTABLISHED ‘BRAND’ FOR READERS TO PUT THEIR FAITH INTO.
Without the ‘brand’ of a publisher, potential readers have no reason to assume that the book is worth reading. If a publisher has had enough faith in the manuscript to take it under their wing, then it means it isn’t a pile of utter wank.
SMALL NAME, SMALL SALES.
As fellow blogger Aaron Polson mentioned, if you’re a famous writer and you decide to self-publish, you’re probably going to still sell a shit-load of books. This, again, is an issue of branding. One step above having a publisher’s brand on your book, is having your name as the brand instead. Do you know what publishing house Irvine Welsh is with? No, nor do I. But I know his name, and I know he’s a good writer. That’s enough for me. Would I buy a novel from Billy No-Name? No – I have no idea who this guy is, or if he’s capable of writing a decent novel.
Even as I write this, I am beginning to see more and more holes in my previous way of thinking.
There are things that you need to ask yourself about the goals of your own writing, your writing career.
What do you want to achieve with your writing?
Do you want to be published with a big name publisher? Why? To make money? To get the thrill of seeing your book on the shelves of Waterstones? It sounds nice. Essentially, that’s fame and a bit of an ego-stroke. Maybe a bit of cash. Though unless you’re an uber-best-seller like Stephen King, J. K. Rowling or Dan Brown, you’d probably not be able to give up your day job.
Do you want to create? Do you want control over the publication process of your work? Do you want to reach readers, but without quantity as the ultimate goal? Make a bit of cash? Be a bit rogue? Use modern technology to its full potential?
There are a few more issues to consider. These days, we’re increasingly told that since social networking is so easily available to us all now, authors and potential authors should be building their own ‘platforms’. Don’t think that if you get a book deal with a big publisher, that you’re not going to have to do any promotion yourself.
Also, there’s the issue of royalties. At the publishing house I work at, author royalties are on average about 10%. I’m not saying that isn’t fair (there are an awful lot of expenses that go into making a book at a publishing house), but getting more than that would be nice. Then again, you have to balance it out. You would most likely get fewer sales if you self-publish, so even if the pay is a higher percentage, it will probably be a lot less money overall.
Why Self-Publishing is a Good Idea
YOU AREN’T RESTRICTED BY TRENDS.
Publishers aren’t there to publish the best writing. That may be one of their aims, sure, but essentially a publishing house is a business. They want to make money. If your book is awesome but the publishers don’t think they will make enough money out of it, you’re going to get rejected.
YOU HAVE MORE CONTROL.
It’s your work. You can make the decisions. Sure, publishers ‘know what they’re doing’ in the traditional sense. But maybe YOU could do something different. Something creative. Something that breaks the mould. Isn’t that exciting?
YOU CAN MAKE A NAME FOR YOURSELF.
It can be done. Even if it’s small scale. The Internet is a powerful tool. Social media is booming. Word of mouth is a far stronger sales tool than any advert can ever be. If you’re savvy, you can do it.
How to Make the Most of Self-Publication
I’m no expert, but it doesn’t take a genius to realise what mistakes are often made by self-publishing authors. Firstly, you need to PUT YOUR ALL INTO IT. Don’t think that you can just do what you want because you’re not going to get rejected by a publisher. If your product is poor, you’ll get rejected by readers. And you’re back at square one – might as well have not wasted your energy trying to get published in the first place.
WRITE YOUR BEST.
Don’t just write any old crap and chuck it on Lulu.com and expect people to buy it. People like that are the ones who have been giving self-publishing a bad name.
EDIT, EDIT, EDIT.
Same point as above, really. Writing takes time. It needs time to ferment. Leave your writing to rest for a while, then go back to it with a fresh mind and edit it. Don’t rush into publication, as tempting as it is. You’ll only embarrass yourself with a typo-ridden, poorly-structured painfully obviously rushed piece of writing.
WORKSHOP/ HIRE AN EDITOR.
Get some opinions on your piece. As the writer, you’ll never be able to read your own novel from a reader’s point of view. And since you’re so close to your work, you might miss some major problems with it. A few pairs of fresh eyes (or better still, professional eyes) are invaluable.
MAKE IT LOOK GOOD.
If you’re crap at using Photoshop, ask a friend or hire someone to create an awesome cover for your book. Make the interior look professional. People do judge books by their covers. They really, really do.
SET THE RIGHT PRICE.
No one is going to buy a book from a no-name author if you’re selling it at £25 excluding postage and packaging. It’s better to make a 50p profit per book and sell 100 books than make a £15 profit per book and sell 1 book (to your Mum, probably).
Not all press is good press. Don’t spam. Don’t demand that people read your book. Build a platform. There are plenty of articles out there on how to do this well. Social networking is not for advert spamming. It’s about communication with people. SHOW people that you’re a competent, intelligent, interesting writer, and maybe they’ll trust your product. If you tell people you’re awesome, with no evidence to back that up, I’m pretty sure they won’t believe you.
Why Self-Publishing Has a Bad Name
Someone you know online self-publishes several books. They bash them out at a dizzying rate. You’ve seen their writing before. Perhaps they’ve posted a sample on Facebook or their blog. It’s always riddled with typos, stereotypical characters, and the plot closely resembles the number 1 selling book at Tesco. Their book is over-priced, and the cover makes you want to put pins in your eyes. Every two weeks you get a request to ‘Become a Fan of Mr No-Name’. Does this scenario sound familiar?
That’s largely been my experience of self-published writers.
But I reckon the right writer, with the right idea and the right book could probably use this whole self-publishing malarkey for something good.
Would I self-publish? Until recently, my answer would have been a resounding ‘No!’, followed by a snort of offended disgust. But after reading articles like The Death of the Slush Pile in which we’re told ‘each unsolicited submission [has] a .008% chance of rising to the top of the [slush] pile’, I’m starting to think that maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to stick my nose in the air. Maybe I should open myself up to the changing publishing world, and keep a bit more of an open mind.
I’m not saying by any means that self-publishing is ‘good’ or that it is ‘bad’. I’m saying that the publishing world is in flux. Writers have more tools available to them than ever before. If they use those tools well, maybe something brilliantly non-traditional can come of it.
I’m sure you all have opinions on this subject. I’d love to hear them.