Sunday 21 January 2018

3 Reasons to Self-Publish

With publication of the fifth Victorian Detectives novel, Wonders & Wickedness, and a sixth on the way I have now firmly moved into the entirely self-published category. And I been asked once again by several people why I decided not to go with a commercial publisher.

Here are my reasons:

1. Control: As a self-published author, I  have a lot of autonomy. I can do whatever I like, publicity-wise, and if you follow me on Twitter (@carolJhedges) you will know that I do. I had very little autonomy with Usborne and OUP and I gather that some big publishing houses like to keep a close eye on their writers so they don't run amok on social media, which could rebound back on them. Also I gather that many houses prefer writers to promote other writers on their list (possibly why I rarely get promoted by Choc Lit writers, lovely though they are).

2. Choice: I  chose the wonderful Gina Dickerson ( @GinaDWriter ) of RoseWolf  Design to come up with my new covers. They are certainly quirky and different ... just like the stories .. and, dare I say it, like the author of the stories herself! When I was mainstream published, I had to accept whatever their in-house cover people produced whether I bought into the concept or not.

Also, I can choose and change the key words that help readers locate my books, and I can fiddle around with Amazon's book categories, if I want to. As I am an inveterate fiddler, I do.

3. Cash:  As a commercially published writer of adult fiction I was getting 40% of all ebook sales, far less on printed books. As a published children's writer that dropped to 12% of all book sales. And my then agent creamed off 10% on top of that. As Little G Books (my publishing imprint), I can command 70% of sales. The difference in my monthly figures has been remarkable.

Ok, I know it is all too easy nowadays to write a book, cobble together a cover and upload the finished product to Amazon .Advances in technology have opened up enormous opportunities for self-publishing that were never there when I started writing books, and that is a good thing.

I also acknowledge that inevitably, there is a lot of dross out there and it lets the side down. Poorly written and produced books with typos, badly designed covers, sold at rock bottom prices or given away for free, which is not the way I want to go.

Despite the many ''Hey, I produced a book for virtually nothing'' blogs, the writers of the best self-published books have usually used beta readers, then paid out for professional editing, proofreading and cover designing. It is hard work at every stage, and having done it five times now, I can attest to the pain.

But in a world where celebs are sneaking all the good publishing deals, and agents are less and less able to place books, I still think that going solo, if you can, is the best and most lucrative way of presenting your work to the reading public. And there is HUGE satisfaction from holding a book in your hand, or seeing it in a shop and knowing that you produced yourself.

So what's your publishing experience? And as a reader, do you ''prefer'' a book that has a 'proper publisher' behind it? Do share your thoughts ....


  1. You know you're preaching to the converted here. I am amazed that even some book bloggers still won't take self-published books, but I think that's down to Amazon not performing any quality control, thus giving the (occasional) impression that 'self-published' means 'shouldn't be published'. In the days when anyone can set up a publishing company, 'getting published' is no great feat. I'm not one of those indie author banner wavers, because under that heading comes everything from the brilliant to the total dross, but one hopes that new writers will come to understand that getting signed by a small house that doesn't even want to spend money on professional editors, is maybe not the best way to go!

    1. I see lots of Facebook posts from writers who seem to publish a new book with some small obscure publisher every time they complete a novel. Then they move on. OK, formatting etc editing is HARD WORK, but at the end of the day, you don't get an 'accent press' happening, over which you have no control. Plus, OK, I don't get my (gorgeous...quote from private bookseller friend) books into Waterstones, but then, nor do they!

    2. I love the flexibility of self-publishing - I can write as much or as little as I need to, and publish when the time is right for me. My novel simmered for ten years before it finally all came together (having been beta-read several times and then had a stern editor giving it a real seeing-to - but that means it is now the best book I could make it be!)

  2. Quite agree, Carol, on very count! I am looking forward to being completely self published again before too long. I'm already planning the re-release of the two I'm getting back into my own fold again :)


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