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Thread: Self-publishing - My story

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  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW Calder's Avatar
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    Aug 2015
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    Self-publishing - My story

    I spent a quite few months writing my first novel - at least, the first one I thought may be worth other people reading - and even longer editing and "finishing" it. Then I was faced with a dilemma: to attempt to go down the traditional "Trade" publishing route - author/queries/agent/publisher - or to self-publish.

    My research indicated a few points:
    1. Around half a million works of fiction are published each year, a minority by Trade publishers.
    2. The chances of getting an agent to take you on are infinitesimal - especially since, increasingly, many agents and publishers tend to be looking for the "next big thing" in a particular genre - i.e. something very similar to what's gone before. For me "formulaic" is a pejorative term.
    3. If you are taken on by a "proper" publisher, they will assign you an editor, who will do his/her best to mould your manuscript into something more acceptable in the current marketplace. This may be some way removed from your deeply-held convictions concerning what your novel should be and do.
    4. Self-publishing is growing, both in electronic and "paper" form.

    Accordingly I decided to follow the self-publishing route.

    Let me say from the start, it can be scary. You and you alone are responsible for everything concerned with your book - from cover art to content. You can, of course, employ professional proofreaders and cover-designers, but if, like me, you feel you've invested enough in terms of the time spent writing and editing and proofing your manuscript already, you may baulk at spending quite an amount on such services - especially since, as a self-publishing author, you have absolutely no guarantee that you'll ever recover those costs.

    For some reason, I've always wanted to see my name on the front of a book I'd written, so, my first port of call was FeedARead - I'm UK based, as are they. I found them to be helpful, but incredibly slow.
    Next came Amazon KDP. The set-up and submission was fairly straightforward and quite speedy. I chose not to opt for Kindle Select, as I was also publishing the eBook via Smashwords, with its multi-retailer outlets.
    My aim isn't to make money - apart from covering a few costs - but to get my book read by as many people as possible and to learn what they think of it.

    Equalising the pricing between Smashword outlets and Amazon was a bit of a nightmare, but a little perseverance got me there in the end.

    Of course, when I received/bought my first proof copy of the paperback from FeedARead, it wasn't long before I discovered a typo - even after over thirty passes of the completed MS. Sh*t! After several more detailed and thorough passes, I was sure that one word was the only error, but I had to correct it. Revising an already published book on FeedARead costs, but I happily paid for the revision. I wanted the book to be right.

    After two weeks, I was still waiting to order a second proof of the revised book from FeedARead. It was then I discovered that KDP also publish print-on-demand paperbacks.
    It took me less than two hours to prepare, format and submit my MS and cover. As of writing this, I'm awaiting confirmation that the paperback is available on Amazon, alongside the eBook version.

    One thing I would advise anyone who is considering print-on-demand publishing is to think carefully about your trim-size. For example, with "The Janus Enigma", a 5"x8" paperback had 426 pages. This pushed up the printing costs and meant a minimum price on Amazon of $8.99. By moving to a 6"x9" format, the page count reduced to 328 and the minimum retail price came down to $7.99 - albeit with a royalty of only a few cents per copy. The one drawback I can see so far with KDP paperbacks is that they don't allow authors to purchase cut-price copies. For them, the price is the price. On the other hand, FeedARead, though much slower than KDP, do offer cut-price author copies - better for promos, giveaways etc.

    Am I happy I went down the self-publishing route? Absolutely. Okay, I don't have the Marketing Division of a big publisher behind me, but I'm happy to leave that to those who want to build themselves a writing-career, to make a living from what they create. I wish them all the luck in the world - and will probably buy their books. For me, I've already had two highly successful careers. I'm a bit long in the tooth to embark on a third. It's not about money, or fame, or anything except seeing my name at the front of something I've created, something that is entirely "of mine own." Of course, I couldn't resist publishing it in some form, or another. I need to know what other people who read it think of it. That's only natural. If people like it - Huzzah! If not - nobody dies and my life goes on - it's a very comfortable and pleasant life, so I'm more than content.
    Last edited by Calder; 10-11-2017 at 07:06 PM.
    “Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards.”
    Robert A. Heinlein.

    My website https://www.thejanusgate.com

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