Is the road to self-publishing too long, lonely and expensive?

February 5, 2013 § Leave a comment

In the last week or so I have been reading two books The Naked Author: A Guide to Self-publishing by Alison Baverstock and The Insider’s Guide to Getting your Book Published  by Rachael Stock which includes some information about self-publishing. (In a work of fiction, we would have to alter one of these surnames.)

Alison’s book depressed me, not that the author was depressing but her comprehensive treatment of self-publishing shows it can be long and difficult. On the other hand, Rachael’s book made me feel that I need not abandon the notion of being published, as opposed to being self-published.

The totally DIY route to self-publishing is impractical and likely, for most of us, to be impossible. If Noble Prize winners have editors, what makes us think we can dispense with them? Do we know all there is to know about designing a book cover? And what about the illustration for the book cover?

I have mentally lumped the book cover design and illustration together but now realise they are two different things. Can you draw? Are you a graphic designer? Will you spend £300.00 on a photograph for your cover?

Who will you sell your book to? You will need to convince would-be buyers that you have a marketable product. If your cover design is poor, you won’t get very far.

You don’t need to be that good at arithmetic to quickly work out that self-publishing can be very expensive. You will have to sell quite a number of books to break even. How long will that take? Then you will have to sell many more to make a profit. A job paying only the minimum wage, by comparison, begins to look lucrative.

Although self-publishing is no longer viewed as a desperate measure, it is still for many a last resort. That being said, I do not think that even insiders have the last word to say on self-publishing. There are always people, enterprising people—I hope to evolve into one—who succeed because they believe there has to be another way.

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