Thought it was about time I made a record of the growing family of books published by my students over the past few years. This isn’t the full collection as some were published via Amazon and went straight to e-book. There are also a number of other completed manuscripts currently seeking publishers.
All of these books (apart from Greg’s thriller ‘The Swap’) were completed with the help of my 12 Chapter in 12 Months programme. And all of them have been self-published.
Self-publishing has never been easier and it’s getting cheaper and more simple every year. There was once a stigma around self-publishing – last century it was called vanity publishing but that has all changed. Now there are really good reasons to self-publish a variety of books:
Memoir: There are probably two ways your memoir would qualify for commercial publication by a trade publisher; either the quality of writing and story are extraordinary or you are already famous. In other words, there is a ready-made market and selling a few thousand copies is a commercial reality. But if you would like to enjoy the process of writing about your life, include images, recipes, old letters, drawings – a book that becomes a keepsake and record of family history – then self-publishing is absolutely perfect.
Non-Fiction: If you have an area of expertise you’d like to disseminate in book form it may have some appeal to publishers if enough people are interested, or could be interested, in the topic. But publishing companies, by necessity, are extremely risk averse. In the past some non-fiction authors have had success as a result of self-publishing and, once the market is proven, the book has been picked up by a publisher.
Fiction: People want to write novels for a variety of reasons, one being recognition and the possibility of becoming famous. These outcomes are unlikely and even if they came to fruition, they would be fleeting moments. In any case, most people with this mindset are not prepared for the torturous journey of creating and completing a book. While some people write to publish commercially, many simply love writing. They want to do things their own way, write whatever they want, pick their own title, create the cover and control the publishing process – and then get on with the next book in their own time.
Gina Amos is a good example. She attended my fiction workshop at the NSW Writers’ Centre a few years ago, got onboard the 12in12 programme and turned out a cracking mystery novel called ‘Killing Sunday’ which she self-published on Amazon as part of her Detective Jill Brennan crime series. She has all the pleasure of writing without the deals, contracts, deadlines – or rejections! Simple and fun.
While the landscape of self-publishing is changing all the time, I always dedicate the last half of my final workshop session to explaining the options and showing students the books you see here, what they cost and how it was done. It’s always incredibly inspiring for those beginning to the journey to see the finished product and imagine one day seeing their name of the cover of a book.