Saturday, 5 July 2008


Apologies if this subject has already been covered recently but I just wanted to ask a quick question: being in the throws of writing my first book I have recently been told about self-publishing. However, the person who mentioned this has been published many times (not by s-b) and I wondered if he thought my book would never be good enough to have an agent/publisher take it on board. Does anyone have any thoughts on self-publishing and do you think I should be right to feel just a teeny bit miffed?! Of course, I think my story will be good enough otherwise I wouldn't be writing it!

Many thanks, Crystal xx


Anonymous said...

"Oh blow," said a well-known Famous Five member.
That was going to be one of my Friday coffee morning topics. Never mind.
I'll have a think about this...

Leatherdykeuk said...

Still use it for a Friday, Captain B.

Personally, I've self-published a couple of poetry books and a book of drabbles but I wouldn't self-publish a novel unless I'd run it past every agent and publisher first.

Caroline said...

I'm interviewing Fiona Robyn on my blog tomorrow. She has self-published. Feel free to come over and leave some questions for her.


Clare Sudbery said...

I'd always reserve self-publishing as a last resort. A lot of people still look down on it as vanity publishing, and even if they didn't, it's incredibly difficult to get any recognition that way / sell a decent amount of copies. Lot of legwork, little reward.

But try not to assume offense on the part of the suggester. It's never a good idea to second-guess what's in other people's heads - he may just have been raising it as an option and making no assumptions at all. He may also, as a published author, have been only too aware of just how bloody soul-destroying / difficult it is, trying to survive in the publishing world, even after you get published. Take it from me, it's a whole other world of pain and heartache. Maybe he was trying to spare you. He hasn't actually come right out and insulted you or your work, so no point inventing your own insults where they may not exist!

Susie McCray's On the Scene said...

I self-published my book of poetry and plan to self-publish two more books. I do plan to approach traditional publishers at some point but for now, being in charge of how my book is designed and promoted is very important to me.

Maybe the person that suggested self-publishing to you really wasn't implying that your book wouldn't be good enough for the traditional publishers; he could have just been giving you another option.

Anonymous said...

Great advice and have to say I feel somewhat better about my friend's suggestion! No, I don't think he meant to be offensive but I just felt a little disheartened. Perhaps going through one of those phases where I feel "it'll never happen".

Chin up, onwards and upwards and back to the grindstone.

Appreciate your replies.
CJ xx

Annieye said...

J L Carr self-published his early books and then ended up winning the Booker for 'A Month in the Country' which is now a modern classic. I think many people writing local history books self-publish, don't they?

I can't imagine I would want to throw money after a book, though. I think it would take all the pleasure out of writing to think that I'd had to pay to get it published.

By the way - J L Carr was my husband's head teacher and lived next door to my Auntie and Uncle. (I didn't like him much - I thought he was a self-opinionated pompous git.)

Debs said...

I wouldn't be too offended, I think people sometimes give advice and just think that they're trying to be helpful.

I shall consider self-publishing but only after I'm pretty sure that no one else will want to publish my book.

Anonymous said...

Ask yourself this simple question: Of all the books you own, how many of them did you buy from a self-publishing outlet? Not many eh? Why do you suppose that is?

I submit that one of the reasons is that you don't trust the quality of books and stories bought from self-publishing houses. Most of them have no real vetting process in terms of acceptance/rejection of quality nor other aspects of their content. Traditional publishing via agents and editors does have these "safeguards" in place, though some people may not like this fact.

Some self-publishing also has a reputation for ripping off unsuspecting authors who end up paying out a lot of money just to say "I'm published". That and their reputation for supporting/promoting "vanity publishing".

This situation may change in the future. After all, the internet has many other kinds of shops that were once distrusted but now part of everyday life. Amazon and eBay for example. Perhaps the self-publishing route will eventually develop its own self-governing and self-monitoring aspects in terms of quality of writing and quality of printing. At the moment though, I suspect most people don't really trust it and see it as a secondary standard.

I have no experience of self-publishing myself, only what I've heard from other people. One thing I've heard is that some traditional publishers won't go near your book if it's previously been self-published. Therefore watch out: it may be a route to getting yor book in print, but it may also cut off other options.

Now, where's my copy of W&AY...?

Saoirse Redgrave said...

Self-publishing can be successful depending on your personality. If you're worried about retaining key rights (or encountering "turnip clauses") and have an outgoing personality, an interest in legalities, small business and travel, self-publishing may be a very viable (and enjoyable) option.

Last October I heard a gentleman speak (I can't believe I've blanked on his name now, of all times)about the current publishing industry in the US. He pointed out that on average publishers spend only $200 to publicize each book they put out (that's not annually, that's ever). Can't blame them when you consider the volume many produce, but it made me think.

I mean, I could easily put $200 into publicity 9and make it stretch with guerilla marketing tactics). And frankly, after you've done your research, you may find that the price of printing, copyright registration, travel to and from book fairs, etc. may be nothing when compared to having absolute control over your "property." Then again, it might be extremely daunting. It's a matter of perspective and personality, in my humble opinion ;-).

Crystal, I wouldn't be offended if someone mentioned self-publishing as a potential avenue to seeing your work in print. It works very well for some folks (the kid who did Eragon started that way, as well as the author of The Celestine Prophecy, if I recall correctly).

It's always good to check out your options. ;-)

Good luck!
PS--I'd like to join the race if someone'd be kind enough to send me the registration e-mail... shannonATsr-gDOTcom ...I'd greatly appreciate participating with y'all ;-).

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all these replies, very much appreciated. I'm finishing the book then will approach a publisher.

CJ xx