On publishing and self publishing, some musings.

Posted: June 10, 2015 in publishing, writing
Tags: , , ,

OK Im going to lay it all out there. I dont know an awful lot about publishing. But tonight i went to an interesting meeting at Waterstones in Thanet talking about getting published. it was interesting to see the different ways some people had gone about getting published. Although none had been published through agencies – both of the men I spoke to there had been self published, but both had very different experiences. One had laid out huge personal financial outlay in order to see his book in print, including some misadventures with expensive editors who didn’t do the job properly. The other man ordered each book that was ordered from him one by one, so there was no initial outlay at all.

It got me to thinking though – about publishing – first of all I only say these things as they relate to me, these are not judgements on other people or how they have chosen to do things – everyone’s different eh?

I was very reluctant to go the self publishing route without at least putting up a fight and trying to secure a deal with an actual publisher, through an agent. One of the questions that was thrown up in the meeting tonight was how do you measure success? Well for me, yeah seeing my book in print would be great, but not if I am the one who has paid to do it – because books are all about the audience at the end of the day, if you just write a book for yourself then why bother getting published at all, even self published, just keep it to yourself.

For me (on this book at least) I measure my success on someone who knows the industry telling me that its a marketable object –  that its something that people will want to read. I knew that if i couldn’t find an agent i would most likely self publish, but I knew for me that might not be the best thing to do. For starters im absolutely crap at marketing myself. I’m basically a recluse who spends my days in my basement staring at a wall without a window. I need an Agent to market me, I cant sell myself as a product and not because I don’t believe in myself, but because – well for a start I don’t have the connections an agent does. I’m just not a seller. I lack the confidence to promote myself. Its not even about money (but lets not be rash, I like money) its about being a legitimate writer. Are you a writer if the only person who believes in your shit is you? well i don’t know, i don’t make the rules.

Getting an Agent turn around and say to me, your stuff is great was a massive confidence boost and totally made me feel like a legitimate writer, i didn’t realise i didn’t feel like a proper writer until I started feeling like one – even though i have been writing for years. getting an agent was a game changer for me. (However if you are self published – great reviews and book sales would provide the same feeling of validation I imagine)

Is it arrogance or insecurity that makes someone self publish? for me it would be insecurity. I would be so scared of putting myself out there to be rejected by agents that I would just do it myself and be happy to sell it to a handful of people who want it every now and then.

Is it a control thing? Is it just not being able to stand someone else having control of your baby, telling you that you need to change the name, have this cover, change this chapter, do this differently etc etc – well yeah I get that. Although when I wrote the book i have just written i was trying to appeal to a commercial audience – ONE because i love crime thrillers and TWO because i wanted to get an Agent to do all the hard work for me. i had resigned myself to make any changes that an agent considered necessary – you see – this is what i want to do for the rest of my life – and so – I wanted to do it “the right way” – it may not be the most financially lucrative way – it may even be considered selling out.

Like I said before though i realise there are a great number of people who are hugely successful and self published and they are probably much more market savvy people than me, I really am rubbish at promoting myself and putting myself forward Its something i have been trying to work on lately – hence the blog and my lame attempts at twitter.

The publishing industry seems to be fast evolving and who knows what’s going to happen. All i know is that the measure of success for me would be to find a dog eared well read copy of my book in a charity shop – screwed up I know!

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