Category Archives: Independent Publishers

Old World vs New World Publishing

Things have changed so quickly in the world of publishing. It wasn’t so long ago that the BIG publishers were willing to reward best selling authors with huge advances. Now the game has changed and the huge advances are about as likely to happen as winning the lottery. The days of Donna Tartt are over. The new e-world order for authors is publishing their own work via a number of different distribution methods but the one that seems to be working the best at the moment is e-publishing. A lot of writers, including some very big names, are setting themselves up to publish their own material. Thus, authors are taking control over the future of their writing back from the bigger publishers – and that in most cases is a win-win.

Publishers have a vested interest in selling paper. That is the main reason they often keep the price of the e-books so high relative to their hard and soft back editions – especially for their proven authors with large backlists. Traditional publishers only understand distribution of a paper product. They want you to choose the paper versions over the electronic version so they keep the prices close – therefore encouraging the purchase of paper based product. That they do so doesn’t serve the needs of either the author or the public. Moreover, that the traditional publishers have stuck to their guns on this issue, only helps to self-servingly prolong their crumbling empires and outmoded marketing models. They have been shortsighted, and much like the railroads that never realised that they were in the transportation business last century and so fought a futile fight to maintain market dominance, mainstream publishers are increasingly finding themselves irrelevant. Of course they won’t disappear entirely, but they are relegating themselves from the mass market to a niche market: paper based distribution.

Another industry was too involved in protecting its empires to learn and adapt to the needs of the marketplace. The music industry did not embrace the pace and tide of change – which was against them. They suffered the consequences at their own peril. Now they haven’t disappeared but they can be said to have been marginalized.

Now, authors can publish their own work quickly and cost effectively via electronic distribution allowing the author to achieve a higher return on their investment of time and energy and the public to pay prices that allow them to read more books. Paper books won’t disappear. People will still want to have paper-based cookbooks, art books and the like, but paper will just be one form of distribution among others. This is good news for authors who are increasingly ready and capable to publish their own content. This benefits both the writers and public who are increasingly buying new books by name authors under a threshold of £4.99 – something that seems to be able to happen only in the new e-world order of publishers. Even with lower prices for the public, authors end up much better off in almost every respect.


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Writing a Book is Only the Beginning: It Needs to Sell

Writing is Selling: Ideas

Writing is Selling: Ideas

Writing gives you the illusion of control, and then you realise it’s just an illusion, that people are going to bring their own stuff into it. D. Sedaris

I have wanted to be a writer since I was in my English Lit class when I was, like, sixteen. As I have mentioned in an earlier blog it was in that class I received an F grade for the first time. It stung. Moreover, it still stings. Since then I have tried to improve my writing with a long and constant effort: not entirely successfully (so far), but mostly I would say it has been worth it. I give a lot of thought to what I write, but it does not always return an equal reward. The fact of the matter is that I am getting better and I have published my first novel. Now, that may seem like a triumph, and it is in a way, but what really counts is the book sales – and writing the next book, of course.

I find selling books a more difficult task than writing. I was advised early on with my writing ambitions that in the modern world of publishing it would be more effective to write and publish my own books – not as a “self-publisher” as such, but rather as a small independent publisher. The world of book publishing is changing. A leaner more focused and flexible approach would be needed if I wanted to find my books on the bestseller lists – never mind my personal goal of seeing what I write translated onto the big screen. Creating my own publishing company was about keeping control, being nimble and quick to respond to the demands and opportunities of the market place.

The Black Sea, my first novel, was a long time in the making. It took years of work – and not to create something anyone would want to call a literary masterpiece, quite the contrary, I consider myself an entertainer. I want to write books for the moment that allow people a moment of escapism – an easy read and a good story. I have not learned enough to even get close to writing a book that would be considered something literary: although it is my ambition to do so one day. That day, however, remains in the distant future as I focus my efforts on writing quality thrillers. Now, my first effort has had some earned some good comments from most people who have read it. And, no, I do not mean from those closest to me: quite the opposite really. Those closest to me have been the hardest on me and thankfully so. I am lucky enough to hear the good, the bad and ugly about my work from those closest to me and inevitably, that makes me want to be a better writer. The people around me have been amazingly supportive in my work but that doesn’t mean they’ve been easy on me.

For some would-be authors, their efforts to become a writer are mocked by those closest to them. Sometimes, because they do not really want to see others succeed or are dealing with their own demons, insecurities or financial pressures.  This type of person frequently tries to plant seeds of doubt that often plague, entrepreneurs, actors and other such “dreamers.” However, if you have the right people around you, it is more likely that they want to help – and that is what I have found. I am very lucky in that regard. Not everyone has constructive help and criticism to guide their progress. There are many naysayers out there who will try to hinder you, but the best practice is to listen and reflect on what they say. If you find their comments helpful, take the advice and improve yourself. If it is destructive, ignore it, much as you ignore a wasp or a bee hovering over the food on your table. Do not pay it attention: just allow it to pass through and avoid the sting.

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. M. Gandhi

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