West Sussex author Angela Waller and her publisher, Brighton-based Indepenpress, put forward a convincing argument for why writers should explore the route of self-publishing, on 30th April at Chichester Library.
They started by highlighting the benefits of self-publishing, which include:
Ownership – you will have more say over the cover artwork and marketing and you remain your own boss. It’s unusual that traditional publishing houses will extend you a marketing budget (unless you’re a known author) or let you use your own artwork for your book cover. Chichester author Jane Rusbridge, however, was a rare exception when Bloomsbury allowed her daughter’s photography – a scene of West Wittering beach – to be used on the cover of The Devil’s Music.
Less restriction – you will not have somebody breathing down your neck about edits, word counts and follow-up books. However, if you’re a writer that needs structure and you would like help with organising book tours then finding an agent would be a good move. Similarly, in order to make sure that your spelling, grammar and punctuation is top-notch then employing the services of a professional copy-editor or proof-reader is also advisable.
Royalties – you will only receive around 8% of the retail price of each book published by a traditional publishing house, many authors walk away with something like 50p in their pocket from each book sale. On the other hand, if you self-publish and pay for everything yourself then you will receive all of the return or if you publish with a company like Pen Press you will receive a much higher percentage than 8%.
Draws attention – there are a lucky few who have book deals land in their laps but for many of us getting published is a long old slog involving rejection letter upon rejection letter. One option is to self-publish in the hope of getting noticed. Having a book in print could help to grab the attention of agents and traditional publishing houses and help land you that publishing deal. Once you prove that your book sells, you have already won half of the battle.
Self-publishing – a cautionary tale
Katy of Chichester Copywriter has heard a few tales of despair from authors who have been stung after choosing to go down the self-publishing route. Here are a few tips to consider when looking into which company you should self-publish with:
- Make sure that you have your book copy-edited by a professional and proof-read by as many of your friends and family as possible. Different opinions matter and a fresh pair of eyes works wonders.
- Make sure that you know how many printed books you will receive for the price that you are paying and what the quality of the final paper and print will be. Ask to see examples.
- Make sure that the quality of all copies received is excellent as soon as you receive them. Nobody wants book-binding that will fall apart after one or two reads.
- Make sure to read the small print. Do not be taken in by marketing offers that sound too good to be true – they probably are!
In fact, this last point was brought up by Sarah of Indepenpress, a company which seems to have a no-nonsense approach to business. Indepenpress has offered self-publishing to authors through its imprint Pen Press Publishing for seventeen years now. In their own words, they offer tailor-made publishing options across a range of budgets, providing superior quality for greater value for money – their packages start from as little as £50.
With an in-house editorial and marketing team, Indepenpress offers three months’ worth of intensive marketing for books under their Gold Package. They can even make your book into a kindle format e-book for £299, or from £99 if it’s already been published and type-set.
Angela Waller was a shining example of how a close relationship with your publisher can be advantageous. She raved about the one-to-one service she receives from Indepenpress and couldn’t recommend their services enough.
The author of The Snows of Yorkshire also offered sound advice about everything from agents to book signings. She suggested that a writer should get an agent if possible but that this is often more difficult than getting a publisher! Angela also stressed the fact that shy authors do not sell many books and revealed how she managed to land herself a successful mini book tour from one end of the UK to the other. The West Sussex writer mustered the courage to ask the manager of her local Waterstones if she could do a book-signing in store. He jumped at the chance, contacted his colleagues in Yorkshire and Angela was on her way.
Find out more about the costs of Pen Press’ packages here.