Tuesday, 19 June 2012

This is a job for...Mickey Rooney*

There's light at the end of the tunnel.
So there I was with a stack of rejection letters (well, there would have been if I hadn't needed some kindling) and a manuscript that had just made it back from an editor.

I re-read his email - the one that proposed publishing my fantasy novel (yay!), but only if I provided £5000 (not so yay). I checked the biscuit tin and, apart from a few bourbon crumbs, there was nothing there. Unless you include the reflection of an unpublished novelist staring back at me.

The novel has a chequered history, which you can read about some other time here should you feel inclined. We've been through a lot together - 10,000 words in the last edit, for one thing. The reader feedback has been good and, bar the odd rough edge, I think it would work as a niche publication.

So, what to do?

Self-publish, of course, as a friend of mine has been saying for months! I've weighed up the pros and cons, which are as follows:

Pros
1. The book is already written.
2. I would have needed to complete a full edit anyway.
3. No one understands a book better than the author.
4. Affordable start-up costs through Lightning Source. (Other options are Feed-A-Read and Lulu, to name but two.)
5. I already have a block of ISBNs, having self-pubbed an ebook of comedy sketch scripts.
6. I had a marketing plan of sorts already put together.
7. I have realistic expectations of Covenant's potential as a niche fantasy novel.
8. Small number of sales to recoup my investment.
9. I get to see Covenant in paperback. Finally.

Cons
1. The edit has to be really good because there'll be no one else to act as a quality gate.
2. All promotional activities will be down to me (as opposed to 75%!).
3. Time spent on this is time spent away from writing new material / books / job applications.
4. No guarantee of success.
5. I need to sort out all aspects, including the cover design.

I aim to complete the edit by the end of June and then a final read through and the formatting by the end of July. I've decided - for this novel anyway - that it's time it was in print and available to readers.

I'll post an update in July or August. Meantime, what's your view of self-pubbed paperbacks, both as readers and writers?


* Before my time too, but I pick up lots of stray information.

8 comments:

Sandra Davies said...

I've put in my oar before, but even if you only order one, there is something about the different format that allows a different, and eminently useful, slant on the editing.
Easier to pick up and carry about and after the first couple of start to finish edits I found that opening it at random, reading segments of chapters out of context, helped too.

Chloe said...

I'll definitely order a copy, Derek!

I sort of know that we should be embracing self-publishing now - it's become so much more acceptable, now that some really good authors have gone down that route. But I still would much rather not have to do it. Probably because I'm rubbish at marketing myself. There are one or two things I have in mind that I think would be better self-published so I wouldn't say no.

Interestingly enough, I was blogging on a small independent publisher (who you may well recognise!) today and was hoping you'd give us your point of view on not taking the mainstream route.

Derek said...

Morning, Sandra and Chloe! I plan to download a copy of Covenant once it's in printed hardcopy - you're right, Sandra; it is a totally different experience reading something as a physical book. And Chloe, I've just read it and will shortly be commenting!

Christine Donovan said...

I self published after a major publisher turned it down because it was crossover - but that aside, it was written, had people waiting to read it, what's to wait for? I went to my local printer who does about 12 books a year, got fantastic service and had a great time alround. Good luck.
However, not sure I'd ever want to do it again. Hmmm.

Gillian McDade said...

It's something I wouldn't do personally, but that's not to say it's unacceptable!

Thrifty Gal said...

I think it's worth doing, though it is a tough thing to do! As you say, you do have to do all the promoting. I'd always go the traditional route if you can, but as someone who has been both small-press and self-published, I think it's worth exploring the self-publishing route as it doesn't close any later options.

Derek said...

Thanks all. Like I say, Covenant has been everywhere, sometimes more than once - it's like an unwelcome visitor!

Christine, I'm intrigued to know why you wouldn't do it again - answers on postcard, here or on my blog please!

Mary said...

Hi Derek
I'm no authority on the topic of self publishing although it is something I am looking at too. I'd like to share details of a relatively new organisation (if I may?) called The Alliance of Independent Authors http://allianceindependentauthors.org/about.html. May be of interest? Good luck anyway. I look forward to hearing more.