Tuesday, 30 March 2010

10 self publishing questions

In a brilliant bit of marketing Nathan Bransford has posted 10 questions to ask yourself before you self publish.

Why is it a brilliant piece of marketing? Simple, really - people who frequent agent's blogs are desperate for some way to get published, traditionally published. He knew that the majority of people would instantly dismiss the idea of self-publishing.

If you want to know why they dismissed the idea, Zoe Winters blogged about the real source of self-publishing stigma.

Anyway, I thought I'd have a go at the 10 questions, see how I do.

Here goes:

Have you taken the time to research both the self-publishing and traditional publishing routes?

Yes. I've wanted to self-publish since 2005. I know all about Smashwords, Lightning Source, going straight to Kindle, and I've spoken extensively with others who have done this. I've also researched traditional publishing, and regularly read
Nathan Bransford's and Kirstin Nelson's blogs.

Does your book appeal to a wide audience, or a niche?

Well it's a steampunk sword and sorcery adventure so I guess a large niche.

Question 3 is "if you tried to find an agent..." but I never tried.

Do you know which self publishing model you want to follow?

Yes. Due to monetary constraints I will publish by ebook, then when I have enough money coming in I will buy my ten ISBNs from Nielson. Then I'll publish through Lightning Source.

Can you afford to lose any money you plan to spend?

If everything goes to plan I won't be spending any money.

Do you have a plan for copyediting, cover design, ISBNs, etc?

E-books don't need ISBNs. Cover design will be done nearer the time, I'm researching the Hell out of it (I've just read so much info on typography that you wouldn't believe. And when you look at other, published books, the word placements become so obvious). Copy editing will be my kryptonite, but I'm active on a Runboard writing forum, and Kelly Armstrong's Otherworld OWG, and if I have to I'll join critters or something.

Or I'll do someone's book if they do mine.

Do you have a marketing plan?

Absolutely. It hinges on me being published by August/September. It's still being worked on, but there will be money-off vouchers, special offers, competitions, and a few other things I'm not mentioning yet.

Do you have a plan for your next book?

Of course I do, just because I intend to DIY doesn't mean I'm not a real writer.

Do you have a healthy amount of self-esteem and an entrepreneurial spirit?

Yes, and oh yes I certainly do.

10. Are we having fun yet?

Oh yes, I love all this. The danger, the excitement. Okay, maybe not danger; but it is exciting, like being on the edge of something awesome, the edge of the future. I feel like an explorer in new territory, a pioneer in new technology. The world's a-changing, baby. You're either going to change the world or let it change you, and I've always hated being told what to do.

Maybe it's my film student background (I'm going to do an HND in television this September) and maybe it's because I'm Scottish (for such a small country we have loads of entrepreuners and often lead the world in innovation), but I love the idea of being Indie, whether it's Indie films, music or writing.

What about you? How did you score?


  1. Sounds like you've got your ducks in a row! And hey, you'd think it was dangerous. Some people act like we're talking about a kidney transplant here instead of publishing a book. It's JUST publishing a book. Jeez. It's not world-in-peril stuff. I think some people have gotten SO emotionally invested in "being published" that they've blown it WAY up in their head to the point that publishing a book is EPIC.

    Dean Wesley Smith has an interesting blog where he talks about the sacred cows of publishing and he mentions this "book as event" problem.

  2. Well, it does put the publishing world in peril. We're leading the way, innovators if you will. If we can make a success of this, and do so in ways that are a lot easier than TradPub then others will follow.

    Kind of Field of Dreams-esque. "If you build it, they will come."

    And when others follow, the already broken publishing system could well fall. Or maybe not, but I do think that most senior staff at the big publishing companies have lost a grip on reality.

    I mean, come on... this in't rocket science, right?