Self-publishing Ponderings

David Nicol I’ve read many posts by authors defending their decision to self publish.  This isn’t one of those posts.  I don’t see the need to defend that decision, rather I think people should consider why they would want to go down the traditional publishing route.

I’m proud to stand up and say “Yes, I’m an independent author, yes, I self publish.”  Why wouldn’t I be?

Historically there’s been a stigma attached to self publishing due to vanity presses.  If you’re not familiar with the term, in a nutshell, vanity publishing allowed people to publish their books, for a fee.  However, the costs involved meant that a book published via a vanity press had a higher unit cost than a traditionally published book.  If an author wanted to make any money, or break even after using a vanity press, they would need to charge more for their tome than a mainstream, established book (plus they also had to source their own outlets for their books).

Chances are, if you’re an aspiring author, when you see the likes of Twilight, The Hunger Games, or *shudder* Fifty Shades of Grey getting the top spots, and featured everywhere you think “that could be me”.  It could be, and why shouldn’t it be?  After all, your work is probably more original, less cliched and better written than those titles that languish in the popular consciousness.

The traditional wisdom is that to be successful you can’t be a good author, you have to be a great author.  You have to live and breathe your passion and then, once you’ve emotionally exhausted yourself you have to lie prostrate at the feet of a publisher/agent and beg for a chance to be heard.

What a load of crap.

Excuse my French, but Fifty Shades of Grey has shown that any old shit can be a best seller.  Reading parts of that book makes me feel like a Nobel Laureate.  And maybe that’s the problem that many new authors have.  They create works of literature rather than pulp fiction.

Publishers want to sell units.  Publishing houses are businesses, they want authors who write profit making commodities, not literature.  Publishing is going the way of the music and film industries where it’s the smaller indie providers who produce the majority of the works of value, the works that touch you, that live with you, that make you think.  At the same time, the large powerhouses try to beat down and pour scorn on the indies while pushing their own watered down insipid rubbish to the masses.

Now this seems like I’m being a big fat Negative Nancy about publishing.  That’s not where I’m going with this.  To be honest, if a publisher offered me a deal that was agreeable then I’d probably take it.  Publishers allow a minority of authors to break in to the mainstream, and if that’s your goal, then good luck to you.

What I’m saying is that if you choose to be an independent author, to self publish, then you shouldn’t spend your time justifying your decision. Instead, spend your time writing, honing your craft.  Build your following, create the best work you can and be a success on your own terms.

In the event that a publisher does come knocking, remember that you’re doing them a favour by allowing them to exploit your work.  It’s not the other way around, and YOU should be the one benefiting from YOUR work.

My indie writer manifesto

I will –

  1. Produce the most professional work I can
  2. Fully develop my characters and plot
  3. Ensure that my work is proofread, spellchecked and edited
  4. Not compromise my vision to please a specific market

Available now:

The Deluge of Elias by David Nicol

Long after a cataclysm that destroyed humanity had been forgotten, the descendants of the original survivors live in a protected Dome governed by a set of rules known as ‘The Orders’.

The rigid enforcement of The Orders now threatens the people they were designed to protect. Elias has a solution, except it puts him on a course of action that is at odds with the rules that he has been charged to rigorously uphold. On top of every thing else, the solution came to him in the form of a dream; in a time and place where no one dreams.

Can he save the last vestiges of humanity, or even himself?

The Deluge of Elias from Amazon US

The Deluge of Elias from Amazon UK

Hannibal House by David Nicol

‘Sometimes you don’t choose the house, the house chooses you’.

The supernatural story of a house that attracts lost souls. Set in South West Wales, Hannibal House tells the story of Troy who leaves Seattle in search of his roots.

Unsure of what he’s really looking for, Troy comes across Hannibal House. Immediately infatuated with the building he sets out to possess it, or is the house aiming to possess him…

Hannibal House from Amazon US

Hannibal House from Amazon UK
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