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Another scare story about self-publishing

edited July 2014 in Writing
'Orna Ross, director of The Alliance of Independent Authors, says every author needs a good editor, which comes at a minimum cost of £1,000. Add the cost of a designer for an eye-catching cover, and someone to oversee the marketing and the costs can mount up.

She estimates that the total cost of a professionally produced book, either digital or on paper, is between £2,500 and £5,000.'

Is this intended to deter us?


  • I don't know, but it is probably true. And ebooks are never going to get that much back unless excellent - which makes most self-publishing vanity publishing indeed.
  • From the Guardian article:
    Self-publishing, meanwhile, is becoming an increasingly attractive option for writers, according to the survey, which found that just over 25% of writers had published something themselves. Writers were investing a mean of £2,470 in publishing their own work, with the median investment at £500, and typically recouping their investment plus 40%. Eighty-six per cent of those who had self-published said they would do so again.'
    Different source, different figures.
  • LizLiz
    edited July 2014
    But - do they mean writers as in already published and known or not?

    And is that ebook or normal book?
  • I've read many self-published books that are excellent - from content to cover. The authors haven't mortgaged their souls to finance the work. It can be done on a budget.

    Vanity publishing? It would be a shame to ignore self-publishing - embrace the challenge and publish something to the best of your ability. If you need to pay for some of the services within the process, that's your choice.
  • What I mean is if you spend a load and get nothing back, then that is what it is in effect.

    I fully intend (well, almost fully!) to self publish something myself.

    I too have read fab stuff.

    And one book very recently which is FAB but the publisher has not it seems punctuated it - an extreme lack of full stops, and rather strange use of semi-colons, i think s it has been edited and not checked.

    It was done quickly as the author died. But still.
  • The figures quoted in the Guardian article about the £500, 40% return and 86% would do it again came from the ALCS report overview released a few days ago.
  • £2,500 to launch a professionally produced book! Isn't that a bit of a bargain?

    Bit of a sloppy article that - which suggests JKR has made £millions from books that cost £5,000 to produce.
  • I don't believe most people who self publish earn a profit of whatever 40% of £2,470 is.
  • I think you'd be mad to invest thousands in a self-published book because there's a high risk that you'll never make that back. It's probably more important to have the right story that appeals to a large audience, whether it's well written or not.
  • edited July 2014
    I self-published three months ago. I have already recouped the costs and I am in profit. A small profit as yet but still...
    It didn't cost me £2,000. My total outlay was £150 for the excellent cover. Many of my friends have also self-published (one an already traditionally published author of seven books.) I don't know where these people get their figure from.
  • Funny how these self-publishing stories always end with, '...and then, with a six-figure deal from a traditional publisher, so-and-so was able to carry on writing, buy their dream house/car/yacht, and publish articles about how difficult it is to make any money out of self-publishing.'

    It's almost getting to the point where writers are expected to use self-publishing as a proving ground, leading to a traditional deal if they can convince enough people to buy their wares. A means to an end, perhaps.
  • And there aren't many six-figure publishing deal around nowadays...

    Yes, I think you may be right, danfango. The publishers sees the writer can tell a good story, has a ready built audience to buy the book, so they are happy to sign them up and take a big cut of the profit.
  • And there aren't many six-figure publishing deal around nowadays...

    Yes, I think you may be right, danfango. The publishers sees the writer can tell a good story, has a ready built audience to buy the book, so they are happy to sign them up and take a big cut of the profit.
    In some cases it seems that publishers have taken on self-published books that have done well even though traditionally they'd have rejected it due to poor writing.
  • And when you see how they jumped onto the online following generated for FSOG- they obviously never gave the book to a good editor, if they had it would have been better.
  • And when you see how they jumped onto the online following generated for FSOG- they obviously never gave the book to a good editor, if they had it would have been better.
    They probably took heed of the old adage about what you can't polish.

  • They probably took heed of the old adage about what you can't polish.
    Where there's muck there's brass :-)
  • Just checked again. That book sold over 150 million copies, worldwide. Trying to.figure why, and how to capture the zeitgeist, I did download it, but I never read it, as it is not my style of writing, and I knew I would be offended by its contents.

    Just wanted to.know how someone could get a runaway success story, without having a publisher(i'd settle for a fraction of those sales, if only...!

    Believe mine is a better one, from what I heard about that book. Did anyone go see the film of that? Whose minds are that degenerated that they would wish to see /read such degrading images, assuming...?
  • The book needed a good editor!

    The only reason it sold as many was because it was different, there were a lot of readers who were willing to buy into the hype, and the publisher didn't seem to have done much work so they could rush it out and guarantee big sales like celeb bios.

  • Lydia, I'm wondering why you downloaded it at all. If you can work out what persuaded you to do that, then it might help you plan your own marketing campaign.
  • Hype can be very powerful.

    I am always suspicious of it so, for me, it has the opposite effect.

  • I bought The Davinci Code because so many people I knew said it was great, so I've been wary of hype ever since.

    The 'look inside' feature on Amazon is good for checking if we'll like the writing style, so that helps reduce the chances of buying something we won't enjoy.
  • I bought The DaVinci Code too, PM, and was very glad I didn't pay full price.
  • One of the worst books I have ever read!
  • It was like one of those as Sci/fic films. You could lose yourself in amongst the meandering plot for a few hours, without really investing any real emotions towards the characters and their 'adventures..'. Multimillionaire though, he, so must be hitting a spot somewhere... For quite a number of people. Escapism? Perhaps that's what people want? Not sure that is quite my style. A bit more depth and meaning than that..
  • It was just so badly written!
  • But, evidently, that's what sells best. So either he is a really bad writer, or he just knows how to use his writing skills to capture the zeitgeist..

    Imagine the bank notes he must be wallowing in? Right now, where I live, I'd forgo any scrap of scruples I had, with regard to writing techniques, style, to grab me some of that liquid gold.. Who would turn up their nose at that, in reality?
  • There's pleasing everyone and clearly he does please quite a lot of the book buying public so yes, he's doing something right.
  • I think it sold well despite being badly written because it was a gripping yarn. I enjoyed it and it didn't occur to me to assess the quality of writing as I was having a good time reading it. Each to their own.
  • Well, I confess, at the time, I did enjoy it too! But not sure I would now. I think my reading interests have developed when it comes to fiction... But it did move at a cracking pace.

    Watched the film too, but again,not sure it is the type I would waste money on these days..
  • I guessed the 'twist' very early on. If I hadn't, then I'd now have a far higher opinion of the book. It's that rather than the quality of the writing which bothered me.

    Pace was good and it was very easy to read and follow what was happening. I'm sure those things help his popularity. (I'm assuming his other books are equally pacy and readable in that way)
  • I'm with you on that. Pacy prose helps to keep the dynamics alive and 'happening'.

    It's coming up with a story that is so universal in its telling, that lots of people can see something of themselves within it to grab their interest. Enough to sign up as a loyal fan upon reading the initial story, to want to devour more, of different tales to be told, in addition..
  • I think you are over-thinking it.
    Write and see whether it works.
  • But I want and need to make a success of my writing. That's essential, if I can pull it off. I won't know until I get stuff out there and see if it sells, And see if I can gain a following.

    If you have been on the fringes of mainstream society for so long, you have a burning hunger to succeed. To gain the fruits that others can take for granted.

    Thinking somewhere like Wattpad might be a good idea, to try and win over some followers. Quite a number of them have come from a similar background to mine and are just as eager as hungry for recognition of their worth.

    That's what I need. Those who are starving for real connections, that are genuine in their attempts. To offer out some praise etc to those who would really appreciate it and need that.

    Having come from a deprived background, I understand that, and would be willing to be some sort of mentor, in exchange for loyalty to my ideas.. That's a necessary plan if I am to achieve what I want in life. Basically, to achieve...
  • So, if I am right, Lydia, you have written a complete book?

    You can now do everything with it that you want to:
    send it to agents;
    send it to publishers;
    self-publish as an ebook/as a paperback;
    put it on feedback sites;
    mention it on social media.

    If you do some, or all of those things, you will get responses. Those responses will determine your next course of action. But unless you get it out there, you will never know.

    It's time for action!!
  • Yep, well said. I've about 40 more pages, of fleshing out of scenes I have already written, then re-reading it for corrections.

    Next to go for proof reading and copy editing, and perhaps a critique. Then, if I get through all that, see where to aim it next.

    Still have the American writer's details, who seemed curious to read some of my story. And then as you said try some publishers, digital ones too. So still lots to do. Learning as I go along..
  • Exciting times, Lydia! Good luck!
  • Let's hope so, huh?! Always to be welcomed, that idea...
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