Wednesday, June 08, 2011

A Review, a Revelation and a Resolution - II

You’ve had the review, time for the revelation.

I have twice made the decision to self-publish, and both times I made it for the right reason.

With the first Postcards manuscript, I continued to receive good reviews from agents and publishers, but the consensus was that, being such a niche book, it would not be economically viable to publish it.  It wasn’t that Postcards was a bad book, it was just that, for them, publishing it would be a bad business decision.

By that time, POD technology had advanced to the point where publishing it myself was a viable alternative.  So I did.  And I did many things (accidentally) right, and some other things (typically) wrong.

Even so, the book gained enough attention that Lean Market Press offered to publish it.  They did this because—for a micro-publisher without the overhead of author advances, print runs, storage, etc.—it was a good business decision, and I was glad to have them.  For me, the status of having a ‘properly’ published book was well worth their cut.  I learned a bit about publishing, marketing and professionalism, and the ‘published by’ inside the front cover gave me a credibility I had not previously enjoyed.

The book sold a few copies, they made a couple of quid for their efforts, and I didn’t make much.  But, in my view, it remained a win-win situation.  However, when the second book came around, I thought I could do it just as well myself and maybe make a few dollars (or pounds) this time out.

With the further advances in technological over the past few years, self-publishing had become even more viable, so I gritted my teeth for the onslaught of “Oh, you mean it’s self-published,” comments and dove in.  What I found disturbed me.

I couldn’t put my finger on it; the bloggers and champions of self-publishing were all dedicated, earnest and full of success stories, but there was something about it all that smacked of zealotry, and I’ve had quite enough of that, thank you.  It made me nervous and left me wondering if I was expected to join their ranks and wear my self-publishing mantle as a badge of honor while publicly declaration my insurgency against traditional publishing.

Then I read Self-Printed and realized what it was all about: they were angry, and I wasn’t angry, nor did I desire to become angry.  I decided to self-publish based on a rational and realistic business assessment, not because I wanted to pick up the lance and tilt at “The Big 6” Publishers.

Catherine Ryan Howard (author of Self-Printed) seemed the voice of reason (and copious amounts of information) and I suddenly felt better about my book.  She calmly and rationally explained the process, the realities and complications of self-publishing, all without exhibiting even a hint of zealotry.  And having studied her example, I have given myself permission to do the same for my book, because it’s worth it.

It’s a good book, really; I’m pleased with the way it turned out, staggered by the early reviews* and looking forward to seeing how far I can take it.  But it already has enough to overcome by being, as it is, self-published, without having to carry all that anger around.

* I was just contacted by a woman who told me she laughed so hard while reading my book she wet herself.  Is that an endorsement, or what?


As part of my image makeover, I am moving to new digs.  And I have decided that this blog will have a larger presence in the new order, which I am calling my blog Empire.  Please come and join me; I'd love to have you along.  The next time you come here, there will be a link to the new blog.  See you there.

Last one to leave, turn off the lights.


  1. Still watching, reading, listening, learning.

  2. Ken, long time no see! Thanks for stopping by. Have you seen the new blog: