Thursday, 17 May 2012

E-publishing vs self-publishing

A Seal of Approval
A fellow author, fed up of rejection, decided to self-publish (SP). He knew I’d self-published my memoir in 2009 and was surprised that I’d chosen to go with epublishers, Crooked {Cat} with my novel. His question was, ‘Why settle for less than 100% royalties and total control over your book?’
It was precisely because of my experience of self-publishing that I was determined to find a ‘proper’ publisher for my novel. Although, my memoir was relatively successful, as SP books go, 100% control also means 100% of the work. I had to research printers, organise all of the promotion and a million other things that I’d never done before. And I was fortunate in having a publisher, Richard Netherwood, to mentor me through the process, helping me avoid the many traps that await the novice. Most of my sales were through public speaking engagements, which are time consuming and stressful (something else I’d never done before).
My debut novel, Once Removed, doesn’t fit easily into current genres. Coupled with the economic crisis, this made bigger publishers reluctant to take on my book. But there is a growing, thriving epublishing market out there, often eager to take on new authors and those with an unusual “voice”.
But do your research before submitting. Check out their portfolio. Use the “look inside” feature on Amazon to see the quality of their books. Visit the author blogs, perhaps even contact an author or two to see what they thought of the publisher. If a publisher wants money from you, walk away!
Not every SP author realises the vital importance of professional editing. Some have never even sought feedback on their manuscript before going to print and it shows. There’s an enormous amount of amateur dross out there and it taints all SP work. Many reviewers won’t review SP books because of this. Publishers understand that their reputation is fundamental and work hard to protect it.
Members of my writers’ group gave me feedback on early drafts of Once Removed and I’d also had it professionally appraised. Then Crooked {Cat} Publishing did three further rounds of edits to polish it even further, ensuring professionalism.
Publishers understand the market and know which reviewers are best suited to different genres. I was provided with ten free copies to use in promoting my book along with suggestions and encouragement. Crooked {Cat} also approached reviewers on my behalf. A request from a trusted publisher is more likely to be taken up than one by an unknown author.
Crooked {Cat} provide support directly and through three Internet writers’ groups. This enables all their authors to share ideas, review each other’s books and pass recommendations on to their friends. The whole experience is less overwhelming and much more exciting.
Because the sales go through the publisher, filling in tax returns are easier, too. Dealing with US sales has been complicated and I’ve yet to be paid for some of the books I’ve sold over there.
Being published means someone is prepared to risk their time and effort on your work and that is worth a lot to me as an author but also to readers. You still have to put in the time and energy to promote your work but you do it with the confidence of that seal of approval.


  1. Interesting post, Kimm. I agree with you and your reasons are some or the reasons I go with publishers. I've self-published my older, previously published novels, but those have been edited.

    I think it's always useful to have another pair of eyes (and editor's) look at one's work.

    I, too, like the network being part of a publishing house provides.

  2. I have self-epublished two YA fantasies which are short stories. I did this cos I know that publishers don't accept short stories. I plan to self-epublish my two MG novels too at one time, as I know it is hard to get a publisher for them as I have tried. I have written a younger childrens book which I aim to get trad pubbed as I know that children that young (6-9) don't have computers etc. For adults I am currently with an epublisher.

  3. Best wishes, Julie, and I hope you found the article helpful.