I have so much news to tell.
The publishing industry, understandably, tends to concentrate on books that will sell in their thousands. Sadly that usually means an author's back list tends to become forgotten. Publishing Houses are only interested in their latest releases - particularly in the scoop of the newest passing-phase celebrity superstar.
All well and good, it is perhaps interesting to know the intimate details of Miss 'X', Mr 'Y' and Sir 'Z' but I am concerned that ordinary books - the "darn good read" which sell steadily but only as a few a month, will soon disappear. We will be left with a plethora of the Booker Prize Winners, ghost-written autobiographies and Harry Potter look-alikes.
Because they are not making oodles of money from my books, my previous publisher has decided not to re-print the Pendragon's Banner
Trilogy and Harold the King
, which is highly frustrating as I have so many people e-mailing me asking from where they can obtain copies.
Fear not, a solution is upon us!
I have taken the enormous step of deciding to self-publish. It will either be the wisest or the stupidest thing I have ever done, but it will mean my books will remain in print for as long as I want them to be. The new editions, with new covers and ISBN numbers will, I hope, be available from mid-May through any on-line bookseller, Amazon for instance, or via any bookshop who will be able to order copies for you.
Watch this space for up-to-date information.
However, the excitement does not end there. I have also decided to self-publish my pirate historical fantasy adventure Sea Witch
. I am busy doing a final proof read and she will, if all goes to plan, be setting sail in early May 2006. I will inform everyone on my mailing list as soon as I have a launch date so you can put your order in for the first voyage of my pirate rogue, Jesamiah Acorne and his lovely bewitching girlfriend Tiola.
If you are not on the list, and would like to be included, e-mail me using the Contact button above.
I am enjoying the production of a book, having control over the cover design and text layout for instance, although there are drawbacks and potential pitfalls. Even the most experienced writer needs an editor to discuss how the story flows, and a copy-editor to correct grammar, spelling, continuity etc. You must be careful. There are a few good self-publishing companies, but many are "cowboys" who promise the earth and deliver a pile of manure. You must make extensive enquiries and read the small print. Self-publishing does not necessarily provide the professionals you need to produce a good, enjoyable novel, nor is marketing always included.
In addition to the cost of printing, graphic design and initial set-up, you will need to purchase books for yourself if going print-on-demand, which means that books are printed as-and-when ordered, instead of being printed in one grand edition and then stored in a warehouse - or your garage!
You need copies to sell, review copies to send out, and you need to know how to contact the media. All this can be costly, time-consuming and possibly disappointing. First-time authors, particularly self-published authors, are very often overlooked by reviewers and bookstores. Sales will probably not be in their hundreds.
Self-publishing is not necessarily vanity publishing. It is becoming respectable and book sellers, the media and even publishers are beginning to take notice. Why? Because established authors like myself and frustrated first-time writers who have a huge talent but cannot get beyond the slush-pile of a lesser editor's desk are fed up with being side-lined.
I said above that I was concerned there may soon be no darn good books to read. My concern is not for the ordinary books, the steady sales, but the 'round peg' novels that do not fit into a publisher's rigid 'square hole' - the ones that may not make thousands of pounds or dollars or euros in their first month of sale.
We will be publishing them ourselves. Who needs Publishing Houses, or agents who take three to five months to get around to glancing at your synopsis and rarely bother to acknowledge your hopeful, eager enthusiasm?
Nothing may come of my venture. Sea Witch
might set sail and sink without trace. So what? I am enjoying myself!
The road to success is always under construction