Vivienne Dockerty

Author of Historical Fiction

The Sacrifices Of A Self Publisher

Is it really worth it?


"I was offered a publishing contract, but I turned it down" said the headline in a magazine that I had been reading recently. "Bully for her" I thought, thinking of all the sacrifices I have had to make to fund the cost of self-publishing...

being an author is not easy and requires a lot of sacrifice

being an author is not easy and requires a lot of sacrifice

Gone are the days when a manuscript had an equal chance of being accepted by a mainstream publisher, after sitting in a growing pile of hopefuls on an editors desk.

Now, on every publisher's website are the words, "Unsolicited manuscripts not accepted" or, "Submissions only accepted via an agent". Go to a literary agent's website and it says, "We are not accepting submissions at the moment".

"I had wanted to be a writer after sending a letter to a local newspaper when I was eleven years old!"

That thrill of seeing my name in print encouraged me to write my first manuscript when I was an adult. It was called 'The Feather Mattress' and was the story of a young girl's flight from the famine in Ireland inspired by my father's tales of his great aunt.

I sent the manuscript to a publisher in Dublin and although it came back with a rejection letter, saying that kind of story had been done many times before, if the plot was rewritten I might be in with a chance.

Nowadays, your manuscript wouldn't even have got as far as the editor's desk, unless, of course, your name was well known ... a footballer or a celebrity. However, by that time I had lost heart and decided to try a couple of short stories, wrote a few poems and entered the odd literary competition instead.

On retirement, finding myself at a loss on how to spend the golden years of my life, I decided to try once more at becoming a published author. In the intervening years I had written a sequel to 'The Feather Mattress' now called 'A Woman Undefeated' and sent my story called 'Dreams Can Come True' once more around the mainstream publishers.

After receiving more rejections - with some manuscripts coming back with the pages undisturbed - I decided to suss out self-publishing. I made a few mistakes, believing the sales pitches of publishers who only really wanted to take my money, until I came across the company who has published most of my books.

"It isn't cheap, in my opinion, to produce a book as good as one produced by a mainstream publisher!"

I marvel at the book covers of my titles which are eye-catching and gives a first clear impression of what the book is about. The average cost of my wonderful offerings is approximately £5 per book, which I base on the print run of 600 for 'Shattered Dreams'.

This is for pre-press costs; based on the number of pages, book cover and preparation, print run, edit and proof and marketing. Then there are the booksellers' percentages who charge between 15% and 60%!

It doesn't seem worth the hassle does it, especially when at the end of the day at least 1,500 copies of each title have to be sold before one reaches the break-even point.

I could have bought an expensive watch, a piece of jewellery, filled my wardrobe with lots of clothes and shoes or gone on a 5* holiday with a cabin upgrade, but none of this would make up for the buzz that I get when I've written that last word of the manuscript, the sense of achievement, the thrilling thought that this might be the one.

And when I get to see the finished article from the publisher, I feel as if I have just been handed a baby. I nurture it, tell the world about it and handle my promotion of it with care.

And if I was offered a publishing contract from a mainstream publisher would I turn it down? You can bet I wouldn't! That advance would open new doors in my golden years and make up for all the effort and hard work!

Until next time ...


More about Vivienne Dockerty ...

Since arriving back in the U.K I have enjoyed meeting lots of people at the Author Talks and book signing events that I have been invited to. It has been great connecting with my roots again and listening to other people's stories whilst I have been doing research for my next book.

A big thank you to all the readers who have posted Amazon reviews after they have finished one of my books.


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Glad To Be Home: Part 2

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The Sacrifices Of A Self Publisher

Once upon a time

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Author Talks And Craft Fairs

Briseann Au Duchais Tri Schule An C ...

Care For The Elderly

Her Heart's Desire

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