I was asked the above question quite recently by a new reader. She was quite complimentary about the book, but couldn’t understand why I didn’t get a mainstream publisher. The simple answer is that none of the mainstream publishers I tried showed any interest. They also took a very long time to reply. About this time, I attended a Creative writing course where several published authors were speakers. They were all disillusioned with publishers, but for different reasons. One had been a best-selling children’s author, but couldn’t get her much-in-demand sequel published. “because we have used up our budget on a celebrity”. That book was a resounding and expensive flop!
So I followed the advise and self-published. A word of warning to anyone considering this option. There are many people out there, often called vanity publishers, who like nothing better than to relieve naive writers of their hard earned money for doing very little. The headlines of the Writers News ( August 2007 edition) screamed yet another warning about a vanity publisher. I can speak of this first hand, since I too lost money to one of these people, despite getting good reports from another writer that they were sound.
What is the difference between self-publishing and vanity publishing? Try the link to Jonathon Clifford’s definition and help on the blogroll for the best answer on the web. Basically only you can be a self-publisher. If anyone else publishes the book for you, it is vanity publishing.
Many published authors are turning their backs on mainstream publishing. They have become very disillusioned with the publishing world. Make no mistake though, self-publishing is no easy option. You are completely responsible for all aspects of the book, including marketing and hopefully sales. Although setting up my own company Petan Publishing was a very steep learning curve (practically vertical!) marketing is the most difficult. Without the big advertising budget and the economies of scale enjoyed by the large publishers, it is difficult to persuade booksellers to stock your item. The only option, is persuasion and persistence.
So do I regret it? Not at all. It’s been a very interesting and rewarding experience (if a little traumatic at times). I have made a lot of new friends and the feedback from readers has been very sustaining. I’m so grateful to those people who have taken the trouble to say how much they liked The Glass Dagger and to ask when would the second book be out?