This week I’ve been reading Alison Baverstock’s The Naked Author. (Yes, that title does conjure up some pretty horrible images, doesn’t it?) It’s a fantastic resource for all things self-publishing – researching this topic is my current obsession. (Can anybody spot avoidance going on here? I should, of course, be working on the rewrite of Can’t Live Without – without this there’ll be nothing to self-publish!)
Anyway, I’ve found myself totally absorbed by the possibilities self-publishing offers, and the greatest of these, in my opinion, is the chance to really learn about the industry from the inside out. There is so much more to it than ‘just’ writing a book and then printing lots of copies with nice, tactile covers. I was amazed at the stages a book has to go through before hitting the shelves of your local bookstore, and each of these stages is essential for turning your ‘finished’ manuscript into a readable product.
Self-publishing authors ignore any one of these stages at your peril!
Although going DIY, and doing it properly, is clearly a mammoth task, after reading Alison’s book I have to say: I am well up for it! In fact, if by some miracle I got offered a publishing deal tomorrow (like that’s going to happen), I think some small part of me might actually be disappointed…
Why? Because by taking Can’t Live Without through all the necessary stages to produce a book I can be proud of – and that people will hopefully want to read – I will have learned so much more about the essential ‘other side’ of my craft. I will almost certainly emerge a better writer, with a clearer understanding of the market and how my work is one small (and essential) part of a whole.
I might make some money – it would be nice to recoup my costs at least – but I’m going to embark on this journey without making this my primary objective. Just as well, you might say, because something else I’ve discovered is this: writing, whether self-published or not, is only a path to riches for the very few!
- Jackie Collins experiments with self-publishing The Bitch (guardian.co.uk)
- Ebooks: why it pays to self-publish (guardian.co.uk)