Interviews · My Memories of a Future Life · self-publishing · The writing business

How did I dare self-publish… and should you? Interview at Welcome To Exeter…

How did I know my books were fit to publish? Did I work with editors on them? What kind of expert input do you need if you’re self-publishing? Should you in fact, seek a traditional publisher first or go straight to KDP and hit ‘send’? What were the biggest challenges and surprises once I did the deed? What bugs me about the indie ‘scene’, if you can call it that?

I’m at Jennie Coughlin’s blog today, answering these questions and more. Jennie might be familiar to some of you as a recent guest on The Undercover Soundtrack over at the red blog, where she talked about writing Thrown Out: Stories from Exeter. She’s also a journalist and has made it her mission this year to lobby for high standards in indie publishing. To this end, she is grilling those of us who’ve dared to publish our darlings. Come over and see how I did…

14 thoughts on “How did I dare self-publish… and should you? Interview at Welcome To Exeter…

    1. Thanks, Rebecca! Many people are surprised by how the industry works. If a book is going to be difficult to sell, or uneconomic to produce, a publisher can’t afford to take a risk on it – even if the editors liked it.

      1. That’s a shame because as much as money needs to be a consideration, books should still be published for reader enjoyment so well-written manuscripts should be considered (even if they don’t fit tight genre guidelines).

        1. As a reader as well as a writer, I agree – it’s wrong. Those books get considered very seriously – then vetoed when someone does the sums.
          But that’s just at the moment. Who knows what will change in the next few years?

          1. You might be right, Roz. More agents are taking on self-published authors (who ever thought this would happen? Self-published authors were once the lepers of the literature world) so I’d say big changes are in store–ones that will shock the industry for the better.

      2. I totally agree, Roz! I think the author could have written a phenomenal book, but if the market isn’t there, the book doesn’t go anywhere. Unfortunately, the author may not even know this!

  1. Very interesting. Did you consider working with a smaller publisher? If so, why did you go in the other direction, and if not, why not?

    1. Good questions – and I didn’t want to make that post any longer than it already was with the many reasons!

      My agent had done all that legwork for me. She tried smaller publishers for the novel and the problem was marketing. It got to the stage where she ran out of options so I chatted up publishers at the London Book Fair, pitched my novel and got them to agree to look at it. (Only for the thick-skinned, BTW. They gave me a look that said &&&& off and die. Two sentences into my pitch, they sat up and looked interested.) She didn’t try any of the micro-publishers who have now sprung up as they weren’t really on her radar. So they haven’t yet been treated to it, actually!

      As for the writing book, that was too concise for anyone to affordably publish in a print run – so small and big publishers were out.

      A few months after I published Nail Your Novel I began to get offers from micro-publishers – so far I’ve had five. I looked at what they could do that I couldn’t do by myself. In my case, it was market reach – could they reach more readers than I could? In fact, I already had a better writing audience than they had, so it wouldn’t have been to my advantage to let them publish the book. Although it was terribly nice of them to have asked, and I’ve made some good friends out of each adventure.

      Fiction is different, though. Individual publishers pick books that are right for their particular audience. Here my problem was being unusual. Because there was, apparently, nothing on current publishing lists that is like my novel, no one had a list it fitted on. I haven’t sought a micro-publisher for it; if anyone thinks it’s a good match for their list I’m sure they’ll come to me. If my agent couldn’t sell it, I don’t have the time to query it either – I’m better off writing more of them and waiting for the tide to turn. But it’s early days for that book – it’s only been out since September. Who knows what might happen?

      1. Thanks for this thoughtful answer, Roz – it’s very interesting to consider who has the ear of the “target audience.” Indeed, it is early days for “My Memories…” and will be exciting to see what happens with it.

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