Publishing On Demand

Having been part of the new wave of self-publishing for over a year now, and run the gamut of marketing techniques, joined about every social networking site I thought might be sensible and done a certain amount of work purely for the number crunching than for the direct relevance, I have realised there is one important, overriding task that faces the self-published author that they must address with everything they write.

The first thing to remember is that the revolution happening in publishing puts the writer in command of their own work thereby taking the role of authorship back to the days before  editors and publishing houses dominated and craftsmen and women produced their own work. The revolution though, is one of delivery, just as Caxton’s press, it is not one of content.

Any writer living at any time has to make sure their written work is the very best they can produce, this will not always mean it is good writing or even worth reading. It simply means that the focus of any writer is the quality of the written work. Everything else follows from that. The very best marketing strategy any writer has is that they enthuse readers with their artistry because readers always recommend books they enjoy.

The Internet won’t sell any more books for you than Blake sold making his by hand, or printing presses enabled people to do through the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. All it does is give your excellence a showcase and if you are not excellent enough you will fail.

To Women

My poems about love actually started with one written years ago about love of life, and what life meant to me. My mother said it was a very good poem and one of my friends said it was the loveliest thing she had ever read!

Over the years it expanded in a strange way and I found that what I was writing about was all imagined. The poem about loving one’s children when I do not have any, the poem written as a fortieth wedding anniversary present when I have never been married and know nothing about how love mutates as we grow older, from personal experience. In fact all the poems in the book are written to women I have never actually met.

Jonathan Coudrille asked if any of the poems contained anything to do with dreams and when I explained to him how they were written he was fascinated. Jonathan is going to do the black and white photography for the book. People who read them do not believe that I have not had the experience of waiting for a lover to open her eyes and turn her towards me, or seen an empty unmade bed and thought it useless without a lover in it. But that is the nature of sensuous invention.

I met with Jonathan on Saturday 1st May. My first book of poems will be published later this year.

Social Ineptitude

Beginning to publish oneself is an interesting adventure not the least because one does it because one feels the work is worth reading, and not so much for the money. If the world were moneyless it would be even more of a pleasure.

But I worry that people replace social networking for marketing of a more traditional kind and I look at myself; when I see people posting their new book I delete the post without even reading it. I can find my own books. But when my friends tell me of a book they have read, I listen. That is the secret of being a writer your marketing is the readers, a groups of people who are always talking about good books. All the money one spends on marketing is there to increase the speed of return on the investment in the book. But when you publish yourself that is not so important because  the actual outlay is very small.

Having gone through five proofs and paid for the upgrade to my status at CreateSpace I still have to spend £50. Nothing compared to the £15,000+ advance costs of bringing  a new author to an audience by traditional publishing methods. Main stream publishers will be using publish on demand technology in the next five years.

And I have ended up with my own press to run which will publish others in the years ahead.

Social networking does one thing for you, gets you found on search engines.  The writing itself will do the rest, so write well and give out only your best work.

The Adventure of Self Publishing

I think twenty eight years, two agents and several ideas taken with no thank yous, give me the right to feel that self publishing through the publish on demand model, is the way for me to go. And having uploaded the files ready for CreateSpace to review and send proofs, I though I would reflect on the immense amount of creative work even a simple book takes.

Not only do you have to write it, you have to find a decent editor to make sure it all flows; you have to design the cover taking into account all the marketing skills that catch the eye but remain true to the book; you have to design a press release; a complete web page; create a web presence for yourself so people can find you if they go looking; integrate your web presence so everything points to your web page which points to Amazon. And make sure it is all of sufficient standard to impress a professional artist to create the artwork.

And all the while you have to maintain a regard to the possibility you may actually do well and so keep focused. I am a writer, designer, typographer, salesperson and net-worker.

No wonder publishers have about fifteen people and several departments to do all this stuff.

A Brief History Of Lies

This book started as an idea in December 2008. I thought at the time it would be a popularist book and that someone must have written something like it, but when I researched I found a lot of books on lies in particular areas and a few seriously academic books but nothing light-hearted, easy read with a punch. Why do we lie to others seems simple but why do we lie to ourselves? I finished the book in March 2009, Penguin kept it for four months before turning it down saying they could not publish enough copies to make it a viable project. So I am doing it myself through createspace, Amazon’s publish on demand outlet.

Whilst I can see this is useful as a way of being published I do not lose sight of the fact that the work must stand on its own two-feet, be of a standard, proof read and well edited and have a strong conceptual basis. POD is not a magic wand that will get one noticed, but it is a way of circumventing the wholly business orientated world of publishers and agents and the deeply corrupt way they do business. The last thing I need to do is edit in the cartoons.

I shall post for information in the coming days.

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