I’m going to bite the bullet and publish my next novel myself. – well, as Storyjug. I have to admit I’ve never been keen on the idea of sending off my MS to hundreds of agents and publishers in the hope that some English graduate from Cambridge will spot my genius. My published novels have never been rejected – all were sold to Bloomsbury, first time round. My debut novel wasn’t too much of a gamble for them as it won an award – the Saga Prize. (Sister Josephine).
I haven’t written for awhile as I’ve been working in the TV industry and as a minion corporate producer, my brain was totally hired out to them. I had very little capacity left for me to create my own stuff with. I’ve been liberated from that graveyard of ambition now. And I no longer suffer withdrawals from a thirty five year nicotine habit. So I can write again. In just a few months I’ve written my fourth novel – Bingo Kid. It mines some of the same territory as my debut but is a much better book. Having looked at the state of the publishing industry and the phenomenal success of some E-books, I’ve decided to go it alone – how exciting!!! If you follow this blog you will see the adventure unfold – indeed, you will enjoy a ring side seat. I think you’ll be surprised to learn just how raw and painful the life of a low-down-the-list novelist can be. But we’re not there yet. I’m still in glass half full land.
In case you didn’t already know, there is something odd going on in the world of publishing right now. The tables have turned, the technology has matured and the tipping point has been reached. More people will search online for a book than bother to walk to a bookshop. Bricks and mortar are becoming increasingly irrelevant. Posh publishing houses in Central London might need to consider moving out to Croydon or some place north of Watford. Expensive leases will be increasingly hard for them to justify.
As a low-down-the-list Black British author who knows a trend when she sees one, I was forced to ask – what exactly can publishers do for me that I can’t do for myself?
Pay out generous advances?
Well let’s face it, for the likes of me, the huge advance is both a fantasy and now history. So I won’t be missing out on one of those then.
Provide professional editing services
Editors can be bought in – you find them either by referral or by searching on the internet. To see if they’re any good, check out their past work.
Publishers will Devise and Deliver on a Marketing Plan
Well this is arguable – they will email their known and trusted booksellers and they will help an author barge their way into a few bookshops but aside from that…it’s up me to do the work – me the writer.
Get reviews in the national press
Does anyone still read the papers these days? Like publishing houses, the newspaper industry is just a collection of brands that have been fragmented into google bytes….
They produce great covers…
Not always….again, a decent designer isn’t too hard to find on the internet. You can tell if they”re any good by checking out previous work they’ve done…
Publishers Send Your Book to the Printer
They push the ‘send’ button on an email.
SO WHAT ELSE CAN PUBLISHERS DO?
They CAN AND DO take most of the profit from your book sales.
They CAN AND DO give you a warm glow inside because it’s truly wonderful to have someone who wants to dole out money just so you can have your book printed, put into vans and distributed to bookshops all over the country.
AND THAT’S PROBABLY ABOUT IT.
If you think your work has merit, then either publish it yourself or pay someone to E-publish your book for you. Then stick it on Amazon. If it sells, you’ll get most of YOUR royalties and you’ll still be in with the chance of a publishing deal – that is, someone might still want to print your book for you. If it doesn’t sell well, you may well get a few readers who can tell you why.
Traditional Publishers are the new Vanity Publishers
To take a publishing deal in the first instance, you need to be so poor, any advance is better than no advance, or so rich, you don’t care about the advance. The likelihood is that you’re just not that confident that your book will sell on its own merit. So you choose the traditional publisher over self publishing for the sake of vanity. Such a decision is neither wise nor in keeping with the business objectives of a real writer.
If you follow my blog, you will find out how much I spent on publishing my book, and how many copies I sell. Keep reading….