Wednesday 12 November 2014

To Self-Publish or Not to Self-Publish?

I’ve decided to self-publish my romance novel Loved and Lost.  If you’re considering whether to go this route, here are the things I took into consideration. I hope my process can make your decision easier.

I found the whole publishing process to be daunting. One of the biggest issues is a certain kind of snobbery throughout the entire process, the whole “if the synopsis isn’t good enough then we will not even open the attachment…the first grammatical error that I hit I will stop reading…we don’t consider work from unpublished authors”…but…but…how does one become a published author if no one will consider your work?

Before I looked into any kind of publishing, I was under the naive impression that if you had a good strong story base then the Agent/Publishing house would pick up your work and guide you, helping you with the plot and the grammar and then to assist you with the marketing of the book.

But apparently not.  You now need to have a strong social media base so that you can conduct your own marketing.  You also need to be an editor, and a proof reader.  So if the author is doing all that, what’s left for the Agent/Publishing house? Only to collect whatever meager profits there are,  it seems

So after taking all of that on board, and the fact that even the likes of great authors like JK Rowling get turned down, it seems like there had to be a better way.  That’s when I decided to follow the self-publishing route of authors like E.L James. The ‘50 Shades Of Grey’ books were initially self-published.  

Don’t get me wrong I’m not under any false pretense that this will make me rich.  I’m fully aware that that will not be the case, but I do feel that the way forward is to cut out the middle man and just go for it.

Here is my process:

‘Loved and Lost’ was tested by neutral readers.  I offered it out on twitter to strangers so that I could get true feedback on what I had written. This helped me a lot.  

The general response was that I had something with this book, a story that, especially women, could relate to and I used my readers feedback to continue to make improvements to Loved and Lost.

So what’s stopping more people like myself from joining Amazon and pushing that self-pub button? There are some important steps that need to be done first and some of them can be costly.

1.    Editing.  The cost of getting that final edit done.  This I have found can be a right sticking point.  It will cost you money but it needs to be done.  It does seem to be the biggest reason stopping people from going for it.
2.    The book cover.  Again a cost unless you are design savvy yourself.
3.    Marketing. One of the best marketing tools today is social media and guess what? This is free. Follow a few simply rules like tweet a lot and retweet. This helps to build up connections worldwide and whilst you are at it, it also helps to build some really great friendships.
4.    Proof Reading.  Again this can be costly but again I have used social media for this. I offered ‘Loved and Lost’ out to readers for constructive feedback.  I had a good response and I used that help to improve ‘Loved and Lost.’
5.    Printing.  Again, this costs, but nowadays, this is an extra.  Most people have kindles or e-readers so do we need to have to have the book in print? While I would love to have ‘Loved and Lost’ as a hardcopy, for now I’m willing to settle for an e-book. After the book has been out for a while and generated some sales, then I can add on the print version.

One of the larger issues (and this goes back to the snobbery of publishing) is whether you can yourself a published author if you self-publish?  

Here’s the thing, you don’t need the publishing industries permission anymore.  If you publish a book, you’re a published author.  Just ensure you have an ISBN number and you’re good to go. Or if you chose to publish on Amazon then a an ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is not required to publish content with Kindle Direct Publishing. Once your content is published on the KDP web site, will assign it a 10-digit ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number), which is unique to the eBook.

The world has changed and the publishing world is quickly changing with it.  If you have a story that’s worth telling… then tell it.


  1. Good for you- you go girl- I look forward to reading it when it's published ������