In praise of self-publishing

13592821_1267634033267823_948898492290551321_nSelf-publishing has been an ideal medium for me, and I’m impressed and astonished at Amazon and CreateSpace and how they’ve made it possible to publish work for Kindle and for print.

I’m no fan of the idea of unfathomably huge global corporations who treat their workers badly and don’t pay their dues, but I do see automation as inevitable and Amazon’s self-publishing setup is truly amazing. Anyone can publish anything (within reason – I think they put it through AI to check it for terrorist manuals and other nasty stuff) and people can buy your book, printed on demand and out the door within hours or simply downloaded on Kindle. No need for a garage full of unsold dead trees, no need for mountains of rejection letters from publishers. The only downside is that it won’t appear piled high in Waterstones.

Of course no publisher means no professional input, and that’s going to show. Editing, even proofreading, your own work is always going to be hampered by the fact that you know what you meant to say and that’s what you read when you go back to it.

Thing is, in my own case I don’t want to ‘be a writer’. I do write, but I’m not a writer. I wrote my trilogy as a project to sort out things in my own mind. I didn’t write for an audience and I haven’t done very much to publicise it. I’m working on a spin-off, but there’s no hurry. I’m also working on a non-fiction book, about woodturning. For me, writing is more of a hobby than a profession, because words are something I can do. This lends itself perfectly to self-publishing, because it’s all being done automatically, it isn’t inconveniencing anyone and there’s no unnecessary printing.

I should point out that after costs, the royalties are pretty pitiful – I get 65p for each book sold. If I were to set a higher price I would get more, but I think seven quid is as much as I would pay for a paperback.

I’m told I should use the hashtag #PoweredByIndie because Amazon are celebrating how wonderful they are this month. So I’m an indie author. Well at my age I’m happy to take on new terminology, and indie means independent, in this case independent of professional editors. Not that I kept the manuscript to myself – feedback is essential. I’ve seen at least one self-published book that had clearly not been shown to anyone before it was published.

And Microsoft Word, that entity that writers love or hate, has been a good friend to me, even if it does get its it’s and its muddled up.

Latest feedback – refreshingly honest and eloquent. Can’t be bad.

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