Self publishing books

by Victoria Bennion

Have you thought about self publishing books? Have you ever contemplated the pros and cons? So have we.

Self publishing books - Print on demand

I have a little experience of self publishing books in that years ago I published a children’s book, The Legend of the Golden Carp, with the Arts Council funded scheme YouWriteOn, now FeedARead. 

I’d only sent it to one publisher and soon after it was rejected I spotted the Print on Demand opportunity with YouWriteOn and decided to pursue it.

The process was straightforward and I was very lucky that I didn’t have to pay for cover design as, my sister, Natalie’s friend, the talented Michelle Brackenborough, offered to put something together for me.

I still remember the day the box of books arrived and the joy of  holding a book that I’d written in my hand. An actual book, with a cover and everything.  

FeedARead was great in that there were no upfront costs, the process was quick and your book was available on Amazon and other online stores (for a small fee.)

Marketing

With self published books the marketing is down to you. I sent out copies of the Legend of the Golden Carp, carefully wrapped, with a bag of fish shaped sweets, along with a press release, to the journalists on my list. My Dad took suitcases of the books to work! People were largely supportive. But the highlight was when Caroline Horn at The Bookseller asked to interview me for a story she was writing about self-publishing, obviously swayed by the sweets.

In those days I didn’t know that much about publishing. It didn’t even cross my mind to get an editor. I thought they were for proof-reading which I could do myself, thank you very much (except for one mistake in the last few pages which was pointed out by a relative in a very loud voice at a family function!) 

Knowing what I know now, and understanding what an editor actually does, I’m a bit scared to pick up a copy of the Legend of the Golden Carp. When I told this to my brilliant writer friend, Pippa Wilson, she said, “but it’s where you were then and that’s OK.” And I guess it is.

Benefits of self publishing books

There is so much to be said for self publishing. There really is. You have full control over your book, the royalties are high, there’s no waiting (and waiting and waiting.)

I have some writer friends who have gone down different publishing routes with their superb manuscripts for a variety of reasons. 

Traditional publishing can be tough. You might have written the best book ever but the timing might be off. Should you leave your polished manuscript to languish away in a drawer never to see the light of day? No way!

Self publishing with Amazon

Lorraine Cannell, a fellow member of the Golden Egg Academy, was kind enough to share her experience of self publishing with Amazon.

Lorraine’s book Hollow is one of the best YA books I’ve read this year. I’m so glad that she decided to self publish it.


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