Monday, November 15, 2010

Thoughts About Self-Publishing

I recently went to a social networking event with my better half. The speaker was from "Blurb", a self-publishing company. They will publish anything from a wedding photo book ,to a house wife's (or husband's, I don't discriminate) book of recipes, to an aspiring author's novel.

This got me thinking about the merits of self-publishing and whether or not I could pull it off. Obviously, as a Children's Writer, I probably couldn't self-publish, but what about my other writings? For example, could I self-publish my fantasy fiction novel? At roughly $3.50 per book it seems cheap enough, but what else is involved?

I guess the first stumbling block is editing. We writers have read the pages again and again and again. This means that we will miss any minor mistakes. If you are as anal as I am this will really go against the grain. Months, years worth of work, only to have blemishes throughout the print. It will cost money to get a professional to edit your work, money I just do not have. 

Okay, hypothetically speaking I have printed my book and I have boxes and boxes of them sitting in my lounge room. Herein lies the next stumbling block - selling the things. How do you sell a book when you are an unknown entity? My local bookshop may purchase one or two out of sympathy, but bigger book selling companies won't touch them. It would require the company to register the book on their system', something they will not do if they cannot be guaranteed that they would be able to sell hundreds of copies of the book. It's a waste of their time and they don't need you. So I would have to sell to my unsuspecting family members, work colleagues and friends. Christmas, after all, is coming up soon. Then I would have to try and sell from my website. I would have to market myself with no backing. I may be a confident public speaker, but I'm not that good.

This all seems like an awful lot of work, and I don't exactly have a whole lot of spare time on my hands. I think self-publishing could work well for a lot of people, but I don't think it would be my own first port of call. I think I would like to do every thing I can to get it published by a set company first, and then self-publish if I knew for certain that it was the absolute best work I could produce.

I am aware that I am only considering hard copies of books here. ePublishing is a whole other ball game, and is something I have yet to look into. I guess I like the idea of having a copy of my very own book in my hands, with crisp white paper and that smell that must surely come from heaven itself. 

I would love to hear your thoughts/ideas/opinions on self-publishing.

...oh, and I did smooze well enough to be given a $50 voucher to publish my very own "Blurb" book. I am having a lot of fun putting together a photo book for my boyfriend for Christmas!


  1. Hi Ash, I think most of these problems have already been solved, but here's my attempt at answering some of them:

    1. Proof reading the book. Why not crowd source it? Find some willing friends to do it!

    2. How to publish it? If you can go fully digital, you have lots of options. However, if you absolutely *must* publish in dead tree format, try a print on demand service like Lulu ( They have a number of different options, depending on how much help you need, including editing!

    That kind of answers 3 as well.

    Have fun!

  2. Okay coming to this a bit late but I've already been down this road over the past three years as I've just seen you've chcecked out Prognostications and Pouting. Have a look at my ebook articles and the struggles to get published, they may help. But the key question you have to ask is what do you want? If it is the physical presence of your novel in the hand and on the bookshop shelves then you have to either self print publish or go down the agent/publisher query line. If you are satified with your story being read then perhaps epublishing via Lulu or Smashwords. However as every writing blog will repeat the key is in the editing. That's the point where it becomes difficult, luckily for me I have an 'inhouse' editor.
    Regards Greg