The Sacrifices Of A Self Publisher
Is it really worth it?
POSTED BY VIVIENNE DOCKERTY ON 21/06/2018 @ 8:00AM
"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
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 ...
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.