Self-Publishing Woes

Self-publishing is expensive.

Having attempted to self-publish on the cheap and finding out that it doesn’t work, I decided to remove my book from sale pending some extra content, a new cover, and other bits.  So, I thought I may as well consider a proper professional edit, beta readers and all the jazz that comes with properly releasing a book.  All this with a view to republishing it sometime in the first quarter of next year looking all spangly*.

The problem?

It’s all so expensive.  For a proper edit, I was quoted a little over three hundred pounds and while that’s actually pretty good value when you consider there are some out there asking for over a grand**, it’s still a lot of money on my budget and that’s not even considering that the word count has increased since that quote.  Throw in beta readers and the art for the book and my costs are approaching the one thousand pounds mark before I’ve even set a release date.

Now sure, with suitable preparation I can save the money I need to get all this done.  But it’s going to be tight and I might have to survive on a diet of bread and water for the next six months or so, I jest of course, but you get my point.

So, I got to thinking whether there were other ways I could make money from my writing.  If I’m being honest, saying such things seem a little vulgar, I don’t know about the rest of you, but the thought of hawking my stories feels wrong somehow.  It’s daft of course, what else am I going to do if I want to become a full-time writer?

Anyway, after some thought I have come up with a potential solution to my problem that I’m hoping will enable me to make the required money, whilst also offering something of worth on a regular basis.  The solution; Patreon.

For those of you unaware of what Patreon is, let me direct you to what they (Patreon) call the magic line:

“Patreon is a membership platform that makes it easy for creators to get paid.”

I have a lot of things I need to do to enable me to my book out in a professional manner that will enable me to get it noticed.  It’s not just all the things I’ve mentioned above, but the necessary funds to promote my book to help get it noticed.  I would also prefer if possible to sell it via a webstore of my own if possible, thus avoiding the middle man, this will obviously incur further costs.  Then there’s the novellas I’ve written to follow the first book and of course the second book I would like to release no more than twelve months after the first and so, on it goes.

The work of any author is never finished, self-published authors just have a tad more to do.

I’ve not come up with a precise model for what I’m going to offer, but short stories at the very least are a given, along with a few extra rewards here and there, I’ll decide firmly in the future.  However, I feel now is the time to offer a word of reassurance, this blog shall forever remain free and I shall still be publishing Vernon stories through it.  My good friend Zog would never forgive me if I tried to charge for those.

Why am I telling you this?

Well it’s like I said sometime, to someone somewhere, or maybe in this blog…let’s just assume I said all right?

“Join me on my journey to becoming a full-time writer.”

To my mind it’s just the next step on the path to becoming a full-time writer and I’m quite excited to see how it goes.  It’s going to be a learning curve for sure and to be truthful a little nerve wracking, but I think it’s just the next logical step.  I shall keep you updated with my progress of course.  If it goes well, then who knows, maybe my experiences might inspire someone reading this blog in the future to try something similar.

Peace out folks, and happy writing!

*Super excellent
**One thousand pound

Let Me Share a Secret…

I was told something unsettling by some very wise people recently, I am a brand.

I must admit this was somewhat disconcerting, not least because I always viewed myself simply as Tom, overweight hairy bloke from Liverpool.  Office worker extraordinaire, eater of Mars bars and general all round nerd.  Frankly, if someone had told me a few years back that I was going to have to market myself as anything other than the above, well I possibly would have eaten less Mars bars to be honest.

When I was writing my first book I must admit, I never really gave any thought to what I was going to do once it was finished.  Obviously, I knew I was going to publish it and to do that there was going to have be some promotion of the book, but I never considered that it would mean having to promote myself as well.  In hindsight, it was obvious really, after all what do we do before buying a book, we read reviews and research the author to reassure us that the book is going to be worth the money we’re going to spend.

When you’re writing it’s easy to get caught up in the creative process, to pour so much of your creative energy into your project that you’re blind to the things you’re going to have to do at the end.  The reality for an author looking to sell copies of whatever literary work you have written, is that promotion is important.  Promotion of yourself as well as your book, if people trust you then they will be willing to buy from you, they will be willing to make that initial outlay and take a gamble that you are worth it.

There are a some things you can do to start with.  First of all you will want to come up with a decent author bio, I have an author profile on both Amazon and Goodreads, so a bio is key as it helps people relate to you as an author.  It won’t do the job by itself, but I personally think it’s good for people to know a little bit about the author.

There are also services out there that can help, for a price of course.  I would personally recommend Rowanvale Books, their advice is good and they’re not too expensive if like me, you happen to be working on a budget.  However, in the interests of fairness I feel I should say there are many others out there and you should shop around, what’s good for one isn’t necessarily good for another.  The choice as ever is yours, but if you lack experience in this sort of thing I would heartily recommend considering paying the extra cost.

I’m not going to lie, if you’re not used to this sort of thing then it can be difficult.  Keep pushing ahead, listen to advice from people, but at the same time try to be your own person; it will get easier.