I had a bit of a snark the other day about a self-publishing masters degree newly being offered by UCLAN. Don’t worry, I haven’t changed my mind about it, but it got me thinking about a post I wrote last October titled Self-Publishing: The Experiment.
I’ve written several of my own novels, by which I mean books that weren’t commissioned, and, as yet, none of them has been published. There are any number of reasons for this, and I take the rejection on the chin and move on.
One of those books is called Addled Kat and it won universal praise from all of my beta-readers, which, frankly is unheard of. One of those people is my brother’s partner, who loved the book so much she is desperate for me to write the sequel. The book was turned down by a plethora of publishers and, as a consequence, despite having a plot in mind, there is no plan to write the second in the series. No one’s going to pay for it, and I can earn every day from my writing, so... you know...
|My lovely brother|
While the book was with my agent, I did get quite a lot of interest, and, my brother being the loyal and wonderful man he is, boldly made a deal with me that if the book wasn’t traditionally published he’d take it on as a self-publishing project so that I’d write the sequel for his partner. He’s a bit of a dude, my brother.
I shook his hand.
It all seemed like a bit of fun at the time.
We haven’t got around to doing it, of course, because we’re busy people, and, frankly, when the book didn’t sell I was more than a little reluctant to go the self-publishing route. I’d painted myself into a corner, because I’d shaken my brother’s hand and I didn’t see a way out of it. I do like to keep my promises. I always keep my promises. So, I decided to throw myself wholeheartedly behind the whole idea and approach it with my usual enthusiasm.
Turns out, on this occasion, I just might not have to.
The research I did for my last blog included an article in the Guardian, which told me that the average earnings for a self-publisher was £6375 last year, and that fifty percent of writers made less than £250... £250! The vast majority of self-publishers sell multiple novels this way, not just the one book that I planned. That figure is not per novel it is per self-publisher!
Even if my one little book were to make the average earnings of any self-publisher in a year, I still have the financial and time outlay of making the book fit for publication, I still don’t get an advance, and it’s still all in the luck of the draw and the laps of the gods. I’ve also got to wait til those twelve months are up to reap all of those £6375, and who are we kidding here? It’s only ever going to get to that amount if I spend an inordinate amount of time plugging the damned thing through every social media network I can tap into, and time is money! It wouldn’t be hard to spend six grand’s worth of my time on social networks flogging the book over twelve months, would it?
When I said it turns out I might not have to keep my promise to my brother, I meant it, because when I show him these stats, I know exactly what he’ll say. He’ll tell me it’s a waste of time and effort, and he’ll tell me to pitch something I know will sell to one of my contacts in the real publishing World.
On the other hand, I might just take a little time out and write one of the other many ideas that just won’t leave me alone, because, who knows? One of these days I might just be able to sell one of my own books!
BTW, if you have any interest in reading the first chapter of Addled Kat here's a link.