Because no-one else is likely to do it for me!
‘The Rise of Serge and the Fall of Leo’ is not the first novel I have written, but my past efforts have been rejected. Maybe it is simply because I write crap but unless I get published and someone else reads my work, I will never know. This time there seems to be little opportunity for rejection, with not many publishers accepting ‘unsolicited manuscripts’ (i.e. they want to be approached via a literary agent) whilst most agents are not taking on new authors ‘at present’, or are very specific in terms of genre or location.
I did contact one Small Press (or Indie) publisher about my latest novel. They had an online Publication Enquiry Form, which impressed me as it does seem outdated to have to send printed work through the post, with return postage if you want it back. One question on the form perplexed me; they wanted to know, if my book was accepted for publication, how many copies of it would I wish to purchase (at a discounted rate) to sell at literary festivals and such? Did I stand more chance of being accepted if I stated a higher number of copies? It was also apparent that I would be expected to generate my own publicity for book sales – and they were keen to know what I was doing already to publicise my work. Urm … nothing at all … I prefer to spend my spare time working on my current writing project.
After I had emailed the Publication Enquiry Form, and during the three months before I received a reply, I researched self-publishing and now I understand that question about the number of copies: it is cheaper, per copy, to print a large number of copies in a print-run than a small number. As for generating my own publicity, that is the general expectation of publishers and literary agents these days. I began to think I would be better off self-publishing. That way (as an obsessively reliable type) I would not be letting-down anyone other than myself if the book did not sell and would not feel guilty for not attending events that were aimed at promoting sales. However, I needn’t have worried … they were not tempted by the sample pages I was invited to submit!
And so I decided not to contact any further publishers or literary agents about this novel. I intend to publish for Amazon Kindle, but still enjoy the feel of a ‘real’ book and would like to have a few copies in print.
But where can I store my paperbacks without the pages becoming damp and yellow? We already keep sacks of dog food in the bedroom for want of space! A short ‘Litho’ print-run would be expensive, so I am going for ‘Digital’ printing that seems to offer a shorter print-run at a lower price. I get the impression I may have to compromise on print-quality; that digitally-printed books have a different look and feel from lithographic publications; but I haven’t yet seen them side by side to compare.
I will try to share my self-publishing experience here, in the hope it may be of use to anyone else who decides to take this route; although I worry I will struggle to write entertainingly about ISBN numbers, fonts and book covers …