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What do the original writings of William Blake, James Joyce, Walt Whitman, and Virginia Woolf have in common? They were all self-published. And so were Deepak Chopra, Tom Peters and George Bernard Shaw to begin with. And many others. But they were all exceptional over and above their ability to write – they were able to promote their work themselves or find someone who could.
But many authors are not exceptional in that way, even though they produce excellent work. In the main, authors are the grown versions of that child who day-dreamed through school, the loner who watched the others, the one who lived in his or her head. They have the discipline, drive and passion to craft excellent stories, but they don’t know how to promote their work because it isn’t in their nature to promote themselves.
Until recent times, self-publishing had an extremely bad name. It conjured visions of badly produced novels crudely bound being hawked by desperate authors at the Grahamstown Festival in freezing July. “I sold six.” “I think they felt sorry for me.” “I gave the rest to my family and friends.” “They probably won’t read it either.”
And it was called ‘vanity publishing’. In other words, a self-published author was viewed as an arrogant beast who couldn’t take no for an answer and poured good money after bad just to see their name in print.
That was then, but fortunately things have changed. Now self-publishing no longer means books produced on the cheap with no notion of how to create a quality product. Now it means publishing your own book with the assistance of publishing professionals. And the result is a book that looks for all the world like something produced by one of the major publishing houses. It also no longer means landing up with a garage full of books with no-one to promote them. Specialist book marketers and distributors have taken much of the headache of marketing and distribution away from self-publishing authors, provided the author has invested in quality production.
As an author embarking on self-publishing, you will find yourself shopping around on the Internet looking for the best online publisher to help with
• assessing the manuscript for publication
• polishing the content for flow, grammar, style and readership
• layout, typesetting and cover design
• sales, and
But – and there’s always a but! – go carefully out there in cyberspace. Find out as much as you can before committing your manuscript and your money to the process.
Our website has been created to help you with your research. You could also try a couple of other websites:
For more information on self-publishing:
Setting a retail price (coming soon)
Marketing and distribution (coming soon)
Understanding distribution (coming soon)
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