Monday, 7 January 2013

Self Publishing

This year, myself and the blog are going to take on the world of self publishing. These days I see many authors self publishing - primarily ebooks - and I, as an author, am intrigued. But taking a quick look at the market proves without a doubt that whilst anyone can 'get a book out there', there seems to be a number of factors that affect the bottom line: Readership.

Many authors, artists, and small presses have agreed to be a part in what I expect to be a year long exploration.

So shall we begin?


Before I begin, I just want to say that as I write each of these posts, I am learning. I am using this space to chronicle what I find, good and bad. That means that I might make horrible mistakes and stupid judgements at times.

Hopefully, in time, things will become clear, but for now, these opinions are only mine. And let's just say that there will be a fair amount of guesswork and assumptions to start with. 

What is Self Publishing?

To self publish a book means, in it's most basic term, to put it out for people to read, independently. That doesn't mean that the author has to charge for it.

There is free flash on this site. I have not granted my permission for you to say that you own a copy of it, and therefore you cannot purchase it. I won't be talking about this type of self publishing in these posts (although I might do one later on the legalities of such).

For the purpose of these posts, let us assume that when I talk about self publishing, I'm going to be talking about putting work out for others to purchase perhaps from a third party store (like Amazon, but more on that later), or perhaps from your own site (say, as a PDF download).

I'd like to define a word first.


When you download a free kindle book from Amazon, you are still purchasing it. To attain a book from a reseller or store is to purchase it. Even if you are purchasing it for $0.00. There are legal reasons why this term is used, but for now, trust me. When I talk purchasing, I'm not always talking cold hard cash.

Should We Self Publish?


Not so long ago self publishing was seen as the last desperate act of a failure. I've seen the term vanity publishing used. A while back self publishing was seen only as a tool for someone to use who couldn't find an agent, a press, or a publisher to take their work.This stigma is no longer attached.

Sure, I want a publishing house to grab my latest work with both hands and pull on it. But I have no qualms with pushing my own wares.

And why not?

Gone are the days where you could only purchase a book from an honest-to-god 'shoppe', you know, full of paper. Going are the days where people purchase books on paper (and yes, it does pain me to say that).

I write a book, a tale, a short, a tome... within hours it can be available to buy globally. Listen to that word: GLOBALLY. Hell, yeah.

With self promotion and marketing tools at our finger tips, the digital world a web of wideness, hey, with companies like Lulu you can be in print at Amazon - self published. Through KDP you can be on kindle... the list goes on.

Do I sound excited by this?

But Really, Should We Self Publish?

Again, yes. Well, actually that depends.

The next post will cover the things that I am trying to cover before I look at self publishing: The Story.

So, as, 'Being an Author' would say... 'Til next time...


  1. Mark, it’s so great to see you tackle this. I am in the midst of this myself with my zombie novel, which I hope to self-publish this summer. If you haven’t already, I recommend you take a look at Guy Kawasaki’s new book ‘APE.’ He does a great job of covering the landscape. Cheers.

  2. Thanks Steven, will do. Every time I look at the subject, I find a new avenue to look down. It's exhausting.

  3. I'm thinking that I must be doing the vanity thing. I want to retain total control of everything I put out there. So far the feedback's been good, apart from one self-styled "editor" that bought one of my shorts, and then took it upon himself to send me his suggestions for changes, i.e. A total rewrite! I laughed.

    1. Vanity publishing is generally used as a derogatory term for someone who uses self publishing just for the sake of seeing themselves in print - to be able to say, "I'm a published author". If the feedback is good, then likely your not vanity publishing. Just good, old fashioned (or should I say new-fashioned?), self published.

  4. I first ventured into self publishing in 2001 because it offered more control over my work. At that time there weren't as many options available as there are now. With the advent of e-books, that in 2001 were but a dream, self publishing has taken on a whole new dimension. For the time being though print still rules, and if you have the technical ability to do it yourself, I'd suggest going straight to the source of Print on Demand by setting up an account with Lightning Source.

    1. I'll be looking into print on demand a little later, though I haven't heard of Lightning Source. I'll look into it. Thanks :)