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The Art of Publishing – A Reality Check, (and a few hints)
I am a keen writer and over the years have written and self-published a few short print run paperback books, novels and poems. A short print run, (in my case), is usually about 100 books in total. I have also, under a new way of doing things, published a few ebooks via an outlet that carries the same name as a south American river, (click on: Books & CDs by David Pike ). Being a writing enthusiast means you feel driven to write for your own enjoyment / entertainment, as a stimulating intellectual exercise; you have the writing bug and there is little you can do about it, other than write.
Having written a book you wish to see it in print, (as a salve to your ego), with the vague notion that others may wish to read it, comment, give advice, or rarely, (and I mean rarely), purchase it. When you self-publish a book you, (the author), pick up the tab for printing, distribution and other associated costs. Approximately a third of the print run is given free-of-charge to family members, friends, legal deposit offices, review bodies and other literary enthusiasts. A handful of books are actually sold, literally a handful. Also, lets get one thing straight – only a few people buy poetry, (it’s a tiny niche market), where very few sales are made, and tills rust over thro’ lack of action. All-in-all I can sadly confirm that I haven’t, at any stage, made any money out of self-publishing. I didn’t expect to. I can also confirm that each self-published book represents a financial loss.
“What about ebook publication?” I hear you say, “there are no associated print / distribution costs there.” This is true. You upload your book to the ebook service provider, and wait for sales to arrive, and wait, and wait. . . The service provider, however, expects you to pay them for promoting your book online. So, they receive your book for free and then expect you to pay them to promote it, so that they can then rake off a fraction of each sale made, for themselves. As I have currently opted not to pay for ebook promotion, there has been little, ‘promotion.’ In all the time my ebooks have been online I have only received, in total, (for everything to-date), 1 x cheque payment of £10.00, nothing more – only this. This is the reality.
The thing about writing is that once you’ve got the scribbling bug you can’t stop, even if it is 3.00 a.m. in the morning! I will continue to write for my own entertainment and vilification. I don’t play golf so I spend my time doing this – so there. Who knows, someday a literary agent may read my work and be bowled over. I live in hope, all writers do.
May the muse be with you; keep writing.
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