Wednesday 19 May 2010

Self Publishing and E-Books

Shawn Jeffrey posted an interesting link on the BFS Forum about self publishing and e-books. Link

Publishing is changing so much these days with the rising popularity of e-books and the ease and cheapness with which someone can get a book self published. Combine these with the decline of independent bookshops and the rise of Amazon as the biggest seller of books in the country, and it's anyone's guess as to what the future holds for writers.

For anyone writing in the horror genre the problems are even more acute. Since its heyday in the 1980s, the popularity of horror with mainstream publishers has all but collapsed, and the only way for most writers in the genre to get collections of short stories published is through the small press - or by self publishing. Is it much easier for horror novels, especially those that don't fit the popular models? 

The only thing against self publishing is quality control, especially proof reading. I have come across only a few self published horror novels and must admit to having found proof reading particularly bad. On the other hand, some small presses aren't too good on proof reading either.

Still, failing all else, so long as a writer knows their work is good, what alternative is there if a suitable mainstream or reliable small press outlet isn't available?

What does a writer need, other than a few hundred pounds to splash out on some decent cover artwork? And to get a decent number of copies run off to send to potential reviewers? And, of course, the ability to publicise their work. That is obviously essential. Unless a writer can get their book known well enough, it will never sell. And be read. Which, after all, is the main reason for writing to start with.

Food for thought.


  1. Having once been in charge of a magazine yourself, and having trawled through lots of submissions (a couple of which came from me - I still have your rejection letters in my files. lol) then you must know that some people cannot write, but these self same people would probably jump at the chance of publishing their work. They probably - naively - think their work is the bees knees. To my mind, it takes lots of rejection before you begin to realise that you're not going to be the next Stephen King, at least not without a lot of practice and a dash of skill. Not that I'm against self publishing, and I know someone such as your good self has earned their stripes. It's the people who want the short cut to publication and who take umbrage at rejection and think they're already the 'next big thing' that ruin it for everyone else and give self publishing a bad reputation. Experience and skill counts for a lot.

  2. I can only repeat: Still, failing all else, so long as a writer knows their work is good, what alternative is there if a suitable mainstream or reliable small press outlet isn't available?

    Whether a writer has enough objective self criticism to be able to publish work that is worth publishing is something else altogether, of course. At the end of the day, successs or failure for a self published writer will rely on word of mouth - the best critics in the world.

  3. I have added the prologue to the novel I am thinking of experimenting with, Sendings. If I get adverse comments on it, I'll rethink using it.

  4. Doesn't every writer think they're work is good though? But you're right, for those whose work 'actually' is good, what option is there when they can't get a break? I have considered self publishing myself, but I know that I would need the work involved editing by someone first. The other thing I have wondered about is if there could be a sort of writers collective, where some equally good writers pool their resources, edit each others work, and then set up their own company to publish said work(s). I imagine it's not that easy, but many hands as the saying goes ...

  5. And there's a typical error in my last reply "... think they're work ..." would of course be edited to "... think their work ...". Lol