Book marketing, self-publishing – and should you seek a publisher? All the fun of the London Book Fair 2013

lbf porter 3Last week I was one of Kobo’s writers in residence at the London Book Fair. Several of the questions I was asked reminded me that every day, writers are trying to grasp this new publishing world. I thought it might be helpful to post their FAQs.

Should I post samples of my book on my blog to tempt people to buy?

You could, but you don’t need to. The ebook stores offer a sample of the beginning before readers buy. Here are two other things I do.

  • I use the eye-catching animated widget from Bookbuzzr (here’s Nail Your Novel).
  • I also have an audio file of the first 4 chapters of my novel – 35 minutes of listening, perfect for a commute. It’s either downloadable (hosted as a file in Google Docs) or there’s an immediate-play version on Soundcloud.

Should I make a print edition?

If you’re going to meet readers in real life, yes. For my talk, I’d brought along print copies. When I pulled them out of my bag, the reaction was immediate and adoring, as if they were fluffy kittens. Even from the Kobo staff. People picked the books up, flicked through the pages, stroked the spine, read the back (spine and back covers are as important as front). I was amazed, actually, at how much impact a print edition makes.

I have a post here about interior formatting, but it’s quite a faff if you’re not used to it. Which leads me to…

allibookWhich services should I pay for?

If your book is traditionally published, the publisher does a lot of jobs you’re probably not aware of. Developmental editing, copy editing, proofing, design of cover and interior, typesetting and ebook formatting. It’s a growing business to offer these services to indie authors, so The Alliance of Independent Authors has released Choosing a Self-Publishing Service 2013, with testimonials and warnings where necessary. Before you part with any money, get this book.

What can I do to market my book?

The guys at the KDP stand reported that this year’s number one question was ‘why isn’t my book selling’? (Some writers were ruder than that. I saw a furious lady collar an Amazonian and growl: ‘I have five books on KDP, what are you going to do about selling them?’. If Amazon starts offering marketing services, don’t wail that they’re evil. They get asked about it day in, day out. And it’s very unfair to blame them for it. They just give you the space to use.)

Amazon had some sensible replies: get a stand-out cover, choose categories wisely, write a cracking blurb, get honest reviews, generate curiosity about your work. And (the representative said this with an embarrassed cough): make sure the book is good.

More on marketing

megaphoneKobo’s Mark Lefebvre (on Twitter as @MarkLeslie) gave a rousing presentation on writers connecting with readers. One method was ‘street teams’. Remember The Tufty Club? These days, post-Tufty writers are inviting fans to join dedicated sites and giving away special editions, tie-in jewellery, bags and temporary tattoos. If it fits your genre (I can’t quite imagine a red piano tattoo myself) you could make up a few as competition giveaways.

Another tactic Mark described was authors who band together as a bigger presence. Group blogs in a genre such as Crime Fiction Collective, author collectives (such as Triskele Books and Authors Electric) curated collections such as the League of Extraordinary Authors). And of course there are themed blogs like my Undercover Soundtrack.

One of the takeaways is that marketing isn’t one-shot. It’s about staying visible,  steadily and sustainably. As with the editorial and production services, there are a lot of marketing companies who’ll take authors’ money for campaigns, but you don’t have to do that. You don’t need a big budget to keep your work on the radar, you just need imagination and likeminded souls. Paid advertising and publicity has its place but there’s a lot you can do yourself.

Let readers pre-order your book

Did you know Kobo lets you create a page for pre-orders? I didn’t. Why would you do this? Because when the book launches, you then get a big spike of sales because they all process on the same day. This pushes you further up the charts and makes you more visible in the Kobo store. Now, if I can just get my blurb written for Nail Your Novel: Bring Characters to Life

BTW I changed my Twitter name

If you follow my writing advice stream you might have noticed I changed my handle from @DirtyWhiteCandy to @NailYourNovel. @DirtyWhiteCandy was the original name of my blog. I kept it as my Twitter name because I liked its bossy vibe, but as the years go on, fewer people would know (or care) where it came from and if people are looking for writing advice they’d be more likely to follow a tweep called @NailYourNovel. These days, indie author-publishers are looking smart and slick, rather than roguishly maverick. So, much as I liked the @DirtyWhiteCandy story and sass, it has to go.

twitter

FAQ: Should I submit to publishers and agents or should I self-publish?

Hmm. Sound of teeth being sucked. Look back over this post and you’ll see the amount of work involved in publishing. You don’t just write a book, upload and hope the fairies tell the world. You need expert help to create it and you need partners to spread the word. Publishers and agents can be your allies if the deal is right.

Big if.

Read on.

lbf porter 4Authors are still largely invisible in the publishing industry

One of the highlights for many was the heaving turnout at the Author Lounge in the digital quarter. Every author event was swarming with eager listeners. Authors report overhearing agents muttering about tumbleweed blowing through the foreign rights section, while on the upstart digital stands, all was abuzz.

But don’t be misled. In our own corner authors were calling the shots, but the rest of the conference told a different story.

Two examples.

1: Neil Gaiman

On the Sunday before the main fair, there was the Digital Minds Conference. The keynote speech was given by Neil Gaiman. I have to wonder what the delegates were meant to learn from him about digital media.

LBF’s press releases made much of the fact that he blogs and has a lot of Twitter followers. But, my friends, that’s because he was traditionally published. The publishers may have lauded themselves for inviting an author to tell them the way ahead, but they chose one who reinforces their faith in the old model. Even in his struggling years, Gaiman wasn’t like most new authors, writing books on spec while having another job. He was a contractor at DC Comics, getting paid while he made the work that made his name. In fact, why didn’t they ask JK Rowling, who famously lived hand to mouth while writing?

Better still, their figurehead could have been a bestselling indie author who made their success purely from publishing’s new digital tools. Hugh Howey, anybody? Instead they had Gaiman comparing publishing with a dandelion, throwing seeds out haphazardly and seeing what works.

Quite.

2: Ahem – monstrous storytelling

Elsewhere at the Fair, the authors weren’t getting much credit. I went to the session on digital storytelling. This featured a panel of publishers and developers, but no actual storytellers – the authors.

frankenstein-epub3-editionOne of the panel members, Henry Volans of Faber Digital, wrote an accompanying piece for the Bookseller, in which he mentioned Dave’s Frankenstein app. He credited it to the publisher, Profile Books, and the developer, Inkle. He never mentioned Dave, the author. Now, forgive the personal bias but I hope you’ll see it illustrates a wider point. Dave had the entire idea. He pitched it to Profile, figured out how to make it work, reenvisioned and expanded the entire novel to the tune of 150,000 words. (Here are his posts in case you’re curious: part 1, 2 and 3.) The developer (Inkle) was hired by the publisher to add software and graphics. The reader’s experience comes mainly from the writing, not the pictures or the machinery.

After yet another pundit wrote about Frankenstein and gave all the credit to Profile and the developer, Dave quipped on Twitter: ‘I very much enjoy Amazon’s Wool and Bloomsbury’s Harry Potter.’

 

Back to the Book Fair

Just two examples, but they betray a general attitude. In an era of revolutions, who gives publishers hope? Somebody who’s conquered the new world? No, a lovable demi-god of the old one. Who might tell them what new products the book might evolve into? The people who understand readers so well they can push the artform onwards? No, the middle men.

Authors still aren’t seen as significant contributors to the industry. And this is reflected in the deals publishers offer. They know you’re far more heavily invested in your book than they are and they’ll take unforgivable advantage. They’ll word the contract with woolly clauses that say ‘at our discretion’ and ‘in our opinion’, which mean they can do whatever they like with your rights and your manuscript. They’ll help you with the launch for a couple of weeks, after which you’ll be as alone as if you’d self-published, only you’ll make even less money. Leaving aside the emotional attachment, they have no idea that the work you put in on the average book probably amounts to two man years, and their contribution is a few man months.

Just tell me, should I seek a publisher?

I still think if you’re new to the industry you should query, because you never know what opportunities you might find. You might get feedback that helps you make the book better, or confirms you’re ready to reach out to the market in whatever way suits you.

An agent is probably more help to you at the moment than a publisher. Even if they don’t get you a deal, it’s a contact in the industry, should you need it. But also consider the agent’s motivation. They’re not risk-takers or talent-nurturers. They want you to make a deal, otherwise they don’t get paid. You might get an offer that looks like quite a lot of money, but it might be all you see and the terms might be punitive.

Publishers at the moment don’t seem to be worth the bother. Smart authors can do better for themselves, but this can’t continue. For a while, publishers will bluster on, trying to keep things the way they are. But in a few years’ time, they might be offering true partnerships and fair, transparent deals.

Bottom line? Explore all your options. Treat publishers like any other partnership or service you might use. Evaluate what they will do for you and what you will give them. Self-publishing offers you a powerful walk-away point, which you can use as a bargaining chip even if you want a traditional deal.

Thanks for the LBF pics Porter Anderson and the megaphone pic Neate Photos,

Thanks to everyone who dropped in to see me at LBF! If this post hasn’t bludgeoned you with options and confusion, is there anything else you’d like to ask about publishing?

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  1. #1 by Helena Halme (@helenahalme) on April 21, 2013 - 2:31 pm

    Roz, a fantastic post.

    When I first visited the London Book Fair a few years ago (pre-digital), I was shocked by how little writers mattered. So you’re comment, ‘Authors still aren’t seen as significant contributors to the industry’ rings incredibly true to me. Yet, agents and publishers wouldn’t have anything to sell without the content providers, so the balance of power needs to shift. With the likes of Kobo and Amazon enabling writers to publish independently means times are changing, but we have a long way to go yet.

    On the positive, these are interesting times to be living in!

    Helena

    PS. It was lovely to meet you IRL!

    • #2 by rozmorris @dirtywhitecandy on April 21, 2013 - 6:39 pm

      Hi Helena! It was lovely to meet you too. Yes, these certainly are interesting times. It’s a shame the industry has this attitude, and it has to be said that there are good editor/author relationships too. But by and large, authors are regarded as dispensable.

  2. #3 by philipparees on April 21, 2013 - 2:39 pm

    Oh excellent all round, specially the bit about Dave and Bloomsbury’s Harry Potter! As an analysis this measured piece marries my feelings of three days at the fair. A sense that the Author Lounge was a corroboration of a few, quick off the starting blocks, to collar the first wave of innocent authors. Equally the fairly unchanged but thinner palisades of the traditional, but now at least polite to the ‘un-nameable…those irritating writers’.

    As advice equally measured. One small addition- that Roz’s description of Kobo’s reaction to yer ackchall printed book elicits- there can be value in printing copies as an initial marketing exercise, to show to agents, and for interested agents to show to publishers. Nothing persuades a speedy decision as much as the sense that the book will be published anyway! If the author has gone the distance why would they not go the whole way? Somehow the printed book exists even without the author, and if done well, makes something of its own case. (It also takes away the sting of rejection…which assists persistence) (I have precious little advice but whatever it is, has to do with fortitude!

    • #4 by rozmorris @dirtywhitecandy on April 21, 2013 - 6:43 pm

      Hi Philippa! Thanks for dropping by and keeping me busy! (And for finding some darn good free coffee on the Hewlett Packard stand…)
      You make some great points here about the value of a big tome. I’ll fill in some background for others here: Philippa has done a short print run of her book Involution, and has been visiting bookshops to show it around. Several of them have agreed to stock it.

  3. #5 by Alison Morton on April 21, 2013 - 3:44 pm

    Thank you, Roz, for this excellent article.|
    I thoroughly endorse your comment about having a printed book, even if it’s just for marketing. As soon as I put a copy of mine in people’s hands they gasp and usually reach in their wallets.

    At the Fair a journalist admitted to being so struck by the cover that she came back to interview me. The pleasure of handing over a well-produced book and the recipient smiling cannot be cloned. I may even get a review.

    • #6 by rozmorris @dirtywhitecandy on April 21, 2013 - 6:46 pm

      Thanks, Alison! This is so interesting – you’re another author using print copies as a marketing tool. Philippa Rees (commenting above) has been doing a great job of getting bookshops interested simply by taking them her own well-produced book.
      Congratulations on getting a journalist interested. That’s a real coup.

  4. #7 by Grigory Ryzhakov (@GrigoryRyzhakov) on April 21, 2013 - 4:36 pm

    great post, Roz! it was lovely to see you at LBF and the ALLI anniversary party, Amazon guys were very generous to supply free drinks and delicious nibbles. And two days later I received a book recommendation e-mail from Amazon – your title was the first one (Memories..). So, the mingling was both pleasant and productive :))
    I agree with Philippa about the importance of having printed copies of your book for networking purposes. I gave away about 10 copies of mine as presents. it is such a nice feeling to give away physical books with autographs. :)
    By the way, which printer do you use if not Createspace?

    • #8 by rozmorris @dirtywhitecandy on April 21, 2013 - 6:49 pm

      Hi Grigory! Oh what fun, Amazon is telling you about my books! Great to meet you also, and I’m proud to have been one of the recipients of your book.

      I had my books printed by CreateSpace. I use Lulu for proof copies because they’re super-fast, but for my proper editions CreateSpace are fine.

  5. #9 by cydmadsen on April 21, 2013 - 5:53 pm

    Nicely assembled, Roz, and informative. However, it boggles the mind that the mess gets messier and the confusion more turned around as time goes on. At least that’s how it appears for the traditional press. Indie authors seem to be organizing nicely and helping each other. It’s a shame the poor dears lower themselves to such piffle as producing a product, and a written one at that. How did you and Dave keep your cool while listening to the credit being given to everyone but the creator? Kudos on leaving the spoiled tomatoes at home and not bringing them along, just in case.

    • #10 by rozmorris @dirtywhitecandy on April 21, 2013 - 6:54 pm

      Hi Cyd! How do we keep our cool? Sadly, we’re used to it. It’s been happening for ages. We found another article just today that rehashed that digital storytelling seminar and once more gave the credit to the publisher and the developer, not mentioning Dave at all. They even included a pic that showed the title page with his name, and didn’t seem to wonder who this Dave Morris is.

      http://blog.thinkjam.com/post/48289187989/the-london-book-fair-2013

      • #11 by cydmadsen on April 23, 2013 - 4:31 am

        For that, I am sorry. What a shame. At times it feels as if the writers/creators are considered an unfortunate necessity.

        • #12 by Paul Anthony Shortt on April 23, 2013 - 6:01 am

          Could it be a holdover from the video game industry, perhaps? Writers for video games are very often ignored when it comes to giving credit, in favour of the development team or game studio. Interative stories do cross the line between a book and a game, so the assumption may be to treat them more like a game.

          • #13 by Roz Morris @ByRozMorris on April 23, 2013 - 7:50 am

            That’s one explanation. Another explanation could be the way this particular publisher has been talking about the app around the industry. The last few times we’ve seen Frankenstein mentioned in the press it’s been alongside other app-type publications written by award-winning authors whose names are buzzwords at the moment because they’ve got Costas etc. Dave hasn’t, so he’s invisible. They’re not even consistent about who’s credited and who isn’t.
            Grrr

            • #14 by Paul Anthony Shortt on April 23, 2013 - 7:55 am

              That’s really unfair. I’m not sure I could keep my cool as well as Dave does if it were me in that situation.

  6. #15 by philipparees on April 21, 2013 - 6:12 pm

    Just read one of the reviews of the Frankenstein app, where, quote ‘David Morris was brought on as author!!!!’ Sound of molars grinding I shouldn’t wonder. Where is the Bastille to storm?Hmm?

  7. #17 by Dave on April 21, 2013 - 6:25 pm

    I will just add to this that Profile and Inkle have never claimed to be the creators of my Frankenstein reworking. Nonetheless, it’s irritating when people who should know better fail to credit the author, especially when a moment’s thought would make it quite obvious that the writer of a book like this cannot simply be hired to do someone else’s work. For the record, my sole creative collaborator on the interactive Frankenstein was Mary Shelley. Couldn’t have done it without her. Everything else about the story – the concept of doing an interactive classic, how the interactivity works, the design, and the writing – are mine; nobody else had any input. However, Inkle added some beautiful visuals to make it a really nice-looking app, and I’m very happy to give full credit there. The EPUB3 version coded by Spirit Media, which I have paid for and which will be released in one month’s time, actually has all artwork sourced by me and I also co-designed the cover. But I expect reviewers will still refer to it as “Spirit Media’s Frankenstein”. Oh well… Forget it, Jake, it’s publishing.

    In reference to the more important question of trad v self publishing, Elizabeth S Craig is also discussing this currently, and the comments to her post elaborate on your closing point that the option of self-publishing also gives authors more leverage when it comes to traditional deals. The link here: http://mysterywritingismurder.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/why-some-traditionally-published.html

  8. #18 by Dave on April 21, 2013 - 6:29 pm

    PS: I was going to reply to Cyd’s question that it is quite easy to stay Zen about all this and thus keep one’s cool. But that’s because I never saw the review that Philippa mentioned. “Brought on as author” indeed! That reviewer had better pray they’re never drowning and need me to throw them a lifejacket!

  9. #19 by johnaalogan on April 21, 2013 - 8:18 pm

    Excellent, Roz!
    I can’t read this post without hearing Aretha Franklin singing out in my subconscious:
    “R-E-S-P-E-C-T
    Find out what it means to me
    R-E-S-P-E-C-T
    Take care … TCB”

    (TCB for Taking Care of Business, of course…which at last we can do without odds-against-us supplication)

    (Strains of…Eye of the Tiger playing in the background there too!)

  10. #21 by acflory on April 21, 2013 - 10:02 pm

    Thanks for this great post Roz. Being an Indie isn’t easy, but it’s still better than the alternative. :D

    • #22 by rozmorris @dirtywhitecandy on April 22, 2013 - 7:18 am

      Cheers, AC! You’re right, it’s a lot of work and responsibility, but it has its benefits.

      • #23 by acflory on April 22, 2013 - 10:42 am

        Now we all just need that smidgeon of luck!

  11. #24 by Paul Anthony Shortt on April 22, 2013 - 9:49 am

    Great post, Roz. I think you hit the nail on the head when talking about the work involved in self-publishing. I’ve seen more than a few self-published authors, or authors who intend to self-publish, who think it’s all just about getting the book written and uploading to Amazon as soon as possible. Even simple things that cost nothing, like planning a release schedule for a series, get overlooked.

    It’s a real shame, too, because it feels like a waste of the great opportunity self-publishing offers.

    That said, for the time being I’m content with my publisher. They’ve done great things for me and working with them does feel like a partnership. I hope more publishers see that they have to work to compete with self-publishing options, not because I’m a trad-publishing die-hard, but because I love that there are so many ways for people to get their work out there and I’d hate for any of them to be lost because of misuse or negligence.

    • #25 by rozmorris @NailYourNovel @ByRozMorris on April 22, 2013 - 10:02 am

      Really good point, Paul. Some publishers are offering deals that treat everyone with respect. This is why I encourage writers to look at all their options. Publishers are still an option if the circumstances are right.

      • #26 by Paul Anthony Shortt on April 22, 2013 - 10:07 am

        I think it’s the newer, smaller publishers who are more aware of this need to adapt. The older, larger ones are used to the old way of doing things and, as you described, find ways to reinforce the “rightness” of that. Smaller houses don’t have the luxury of long backlists or big-name authors to keep their sales up, so they’re forced to respond.

  12. #27 by Stéphanie Noël (@atuaStephanieN) on April 22, 2013 - 1:42 pm

    Thank you very much for this thorough post. I’m still in the writing process but knowing my options is always good.

  13. #29 by JPF Goodman on April 22, 2013 - 3:01 pm

    Thanks again for your clear eyed guidance through this foggy world.

  14. #31 by Mary Wood on April 22, 2013 - 3:24 pm

    Great post, and it confirms what I have thought for a long time, ‘at last it is an authors world’. I have had nothing but rejections from agents and publishers, now I am a best seller, with the same books they didn’t think quite right for their lists… Having said that, my success is only digital, I am not in libraries or shops, so they still hold some very good cards. And ones that I would like to win. Thank you, glad you enjoyed your trip to the book fair, much love, Mary Wood.

    • #32 by Roz Morris @ByRozMorris on April 23, 2013 - 7:53 am

      Thanks, Mary. And congratulations for making a success of your much-travelled book. As you say, there are still some cards the publishers hold because we can’t compete on distribution. That said, a traditional deal might get you into that network in the short term, but you don’t know how long they’ll keep you in print. At least if you publish yourself your book never has to die.

  15. #33 by DRMarvello on April 22, 2013 - 6:38 pm

    Authors may not be disposable, but they are replaceable, and I think that is what contributes to the condescending attitude publishers have toward authors. Even now, for every author who walks out the door, ten more are lining up (and bending over) to get a deal.

    Publishers don’t even have to wade through their slush pile trying to find the gems amongst the ore any more. They can just troll the Amazon bestsellers lists for indie authors who are doing well enough to prove their work has commercial potential. Most of the indie authors I know would be flattered to be approached by a traditional publisher, and they would seriously consider taking a contract just for the prestige of having been singled out by the former gatekeepers.

    The woman who raged at Amazon about the marketing of her books doesn’t understand the scope of the author/title supply problem. Every month, something like 50,000 new Kindle titles are published. Odds are good that several hundred, in my case several thousand, of those new titles are in *your* genre. Amazon quite literally helps those who help themselves. If you do the work and get your book some traction, Amazon helps you get more readers by putting you into the recommendation lists. The more the readers respond, the more Amazon does for you. But you have to get that ball rolling yourself.

    • #34 by philipparees on April 22, 2013 - 6:45 pm

      Brutal but true DRM! I had not really registered the ease that the trad publishers are given by the lashed labours of the self financing indies…artisans I meant. Making a swift road packed with first grade reader asphalt. never quite saw it so clearly before.

    • #35 by DRMarvello on April 22, 2013 - 8:47 pm

      Hi Philippa. Nice to connect with you again.

      I would hate to be an author who is seeking a traditional contract right now. You query and query, sometimes for years, and you hear back nothing or it takes months just to get a rejection. Then you read about how some self-published author was approached by a big publisher and signed to a nice contract with surprisingly good terms. It would feel like the self-published author cut in line or cheated somehow. Worse, you might suspect that the publishers aren’t even looking at direct (or agented) submissions seriously any more.

      I would say that publishers are establishing a perfectly logical niche for themselves in the new marketplace. Their strength is in their production systems and distribution systems for print books where strong barriers still exist for self-published authors. Meanwhile, readers have become the new arbiters of quality and commercial potential. It makes sense to me that publishers would let the market identify the winners and then swoop in to offer the print distribution that authors crave and can’t really do for themselves. Compared to starting with the slush pile, the financial risk to the publisher is minimal.

      This is an area I think smart literary agents are going to exploit as well. Agents willing to do the legwork can use Amazon rankings as a starting point to identify talented authors and approach them with an offer of representation. I’d say that anyone who consistently ranks under 100K is worth a look. The agents who get good at this will continue to fill the gap between the publisher, who is looking for a sure-thing, and the self-published author, who often hates the production side of things anyway.

      What’s interesting to me about all this is how the horse is finally leading the cart. The authors are writing what they want to write, readers are selecting what they like to read, and publishers are mass-marketing the proven works. It’s a lot less wasteful than the old system, in my opinion.

      • #36 by philipparees on April 22, 2013 - 10:01 pm

        Yes DRM. Pithy points, and yes the cart is being turned around, just right now it feels a mite unstable! The gap is narrowing for the really niche work, of possible value, without a market savvy author or any money behind it. Strange how the jack of all trades now must leap to the fore…can’t see T.S Eliot, or Gerard Manley ‘opkins ‘opping to it, can you?

        There is the possibility that distributors will also see the logic of cutting out the middlemen (agents and publishers) and dealing with the artisans direct too…at which point the market really will be wide open!

        My printer is already sniffing out the territory!

        • #37 by Roz Morris @ByRozMorris on April 23, 2013 - 8:09 am

          Hi Daniel! All excellent points.
          Yes, there is no shortage of writers. None at all. It’s a raw material in plentiful, endless supply. And you’re right that commercial publishers are trawling the bestseller lists. I know a senior Big 5?4?3 editor who does that, and I don’t know if he even needs to read the slush pile any more. That’s commercial fiction and it makes sense to do that.
          I reckon the more literary publishers never look at the bestselling charts, though. I think they still get their new material through agents, rather than hunt for it themselves. It would actually be nice if a breakthrough literary work was taken on that way because it might break down some reader prejudice. If you look on the books pages of the Guardian blog, self-publishers are still regarded as writers of disposable supermarket reads. Nothing will convince those readers that indies also publish more serious thoughtful writing.
          Or maybe nothing will convince them!

  16. #38 by yasminselena on April 22, 2013 - 9:53 pm

    Roz, it was really good to read an alternative viewpoint of the LBF, this was only my 2nd visit but as I said on your FB post, I don’t feel publishers are willing to take creative risks. I get the feeling they’re v. curious about what sinks/swims in self-publishing and only then are they willing to consider it. It’s almost like a new shortlisting process in addition to agents pitching manuscripts at them, seeing what succeeds, I’ve literally just written this detailed take on my own experience of the LBF from a self-publisher’s perspective. If you like it, I hope you’ll share it somewhere. x

    http://yasminselenabutt.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/the-one-about-the-london-book-fair/

    • #39 by Roz Morris @ByRozMorris on April 23, 2013 - 8:11 am

      Hi Yasmin! You’re right, publishers won’t take creative risks. But also, none of them get told off for the books they reject because there’s always plenty of fodder to consider.
      I’ll certainly check out your LBF post. We must have swum past each other in the great swarm of visitors. Thanks for dropping in here!

      • #40 by yasminselena on April 23, 2013 - 9:50 am

        I agree, if self-publishing continues to grow, especially if their well-established writers turn to it, on twigging the profit margins are better if they set up their own accounts with Bertrams etc it might make them act differently. There are still fantastic books being published, but it annoys me so much transient shit esp reality star biogs get pushed in favour of original fiction. I suspect at the LBF we did a sliding doors several times esp as I did go to the Kobo stand later & I read on FB you were there for ages afterwards!! x

        • #41 by Roz Morris @ByRozMorris on April 23, 2013 - 12:13 pm

          I was there for ages! My spot coincided with Joanna Penn’s masterful marketing course, so people collared me beforehand and afterwards!
          Did you hear that David Mamet is self-publishing? Perhaps that will persuade some naysayers to look more closely at the reasons why perfectly presentable authors are going it alone.

  17. #44 by Dina Santorelli on April 23, 2013 - 12:02 pm

    This was an EXCELLENT round-up, Roz. Thanks for posting!

  18. #46 by Michelle MacEwan on April 24, 2013 - 11:11 pm

    Great to read your post, and the storm of comments it evoked! Your description of people’s reaction to your book – ‘immediate and adoring,’ really sums it up. I think we would all love to have our books in print, and are also aware of the empowerment of self publishing – whatever that looks like for each individual. We have to find our own way through these rapidly changing times, despite the scariness of it, and the hard slog, the consistency and commitment that is required. It is a great idea to have some copies in print for promotion. It seems that there will be more and more new ways opening out – some will work, some won’t. Choice is great though, and being informed is vital. Being part of this ‘era of revolutions’ is a challenge worth taking up.
    I am off to Ireland next week, and have a couple of work visits to London. Do you have any London events coming up in May or early June?
    Your post is thought provoking, and as ever, a great source of information, Roz. Thanks a million!

    • #47 by rozmorris @NailYourNovel @ByRozMorris on April 28, 2013 - 7:39 pm

      Thanks, Michelle! All we can do is try to keep each other informed. I’m constantly grateful to the people who share their experience. There’s so much I’ve learned from other bloggers, and a nice thing about the writing community is that they will share so much.
      On your point about print books, I’m so lucky that I have a background in book production.
      I don’t have any more London events booked at the moment Michelle, but hopefully we’ll coincide sometime!

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