I often hear from people who want to write a book but don’t know how or where to begin. Or from people who have already written a book that’s ready for publication but don’t know how to get it published. Today I’m beginning a new blog series, Writing and Publishing Tips From Authors Around the World, to help writers.
The first author is a UK self-published author, John Holt, and he’s here to talk about Self-Publishing. His article will be posted in two parts.
Here is PART ONE of John’s Article:
All right so you’ve spent months writing your epic, you’ve edited over and over again, and at last you think it is ready. Ready for what? Publication of course. Very soon you will realise that the mainstream publishers are only really interested in you if you happen to be an A-lister, or a celebrity chef, or a footballer called Rooney, or Beckham. Failing all of that it might still get signed up if your opus is absolutely world class literature. It has been professional editing (at great cost); it has been checked for continuity (at great cost); it has a throat grabbing cover professionally designed (at great cost); and you have the services of an Agent (at great cost). Then, perhaps, one of the big six might be tempted to give you a chance.
In the likely event that the invitation is not, in fact, forthcoming, then you will have to consider other possibilities. Perhaps one of the smaller publishers might be willing to give you the break you so richly deserve. I said perhaps. Sadly the chances of that happening are somewhat limited. The smaller publisher cannot afford to publish too many novels in any one year, therefore it is likely that the submissions opportunity is over for another twelve months or so. Maybe, because they are a small concern they only require books in a certain genre. So it looks as though another door may be closing on you.
Not to worry there are still the so-called vanity publishers. They will certainly publish your work, no question. The only problem is you have to pay them. When my first book was completed I very soon realised that sadly none of the big traditional publishers were smart enough to realise my potential. Then I approached Dorrance Publishing in New York. They absolutely loved my book, and could not wait to publish it. All I had to do was send them a cheque for $10000. (Yes that’s correct $10000, or £6000). Needless to say I never did work with Dorrance.
Alright Dorrance’s charges were the extreme. Other companies wanted £2400; £700; and the lowest I was quoted £400. Charges varied dependent on the services required. Services that might have included guaranteed shelf space in certain book shops; formatting; editing; radio advertising; etc. Naturally the more services you required the higher the charge.
Quite possibly, and understandably, vanity publishing may not be the answer in your case. That leaves self-publishing.
In August 2012 I decided to go down the self publish route. With sites like Lulu.com; Createspace; Smashwords; Kindle Direct; self publishing is now so easy, and cost nothing. I now have all six of my novels self published under my brand PHOENIX. I have full control over the book content, the cover, promotion, publicity, and, of course, I don’t share the royalties with anyone. The promoting is a full time job, but it has to be done. All in all, and thanks to my friends and supporters on Facebook and Twitter I am glad I made that decision.
I live in Essex with my wife, daughter, and our cat who adopted us. I qualified as a Chartered Surveyor in 1966, and for many years I worked in Local Government. In 1972 I was employed as a Senior Project Manager with the Greater London Council. I stayed with them until the GLC was closed down by the Thatcher Government in 1986. I then started my own Surveying practice, carrying out property condition surveys, and preparing architectural drawings. In 2004 I had a heart attack, and lost a few clients. I finally retired in 2008.
Like many others I’m sure, I always wanted to write a novel but could never think of a decent plot. Then we had a holiday in Austria, at Lake Grundlsee. The next lake, Toplitz, had been used by the German Navy during the way, to test rockets and torpedoes. There were rumours of hidden nazi gold. This became the basis for my first novel “The Kammersee Affair” first published in 2006.
This was followed by five novels featuring my private detective Tom Kendall – The Mackenzie Dossier, The Marinski Affair, Epidemic, A Killing In The City, and Kendall. Then came “The Thackery Journal” a what if novel set during the American Civil War,
Recently I have been writing a series of novellas featuring a new private detective, Jack Daniels. To date two are available, The Candy Man and A Dead Certainty. A third, Trouble In Mind, should be available in April.