It may serve as inspiration for all aspiring authors that Beth Reekles, a self-published Welsh schoolgirl, has been given a three-book deal by Random House, following the online success of her debut novel The Kissing Booth.
It may serves as inspiration….but for me, it doesn’t. Not anymore.
I self-published two poetry books through my own publishing house, Tempest Press, and would like to state, for the record that I’m done with self-publishing.
It starts with an instant gratification surge of pride in seeing your name in print…and ends in the same place it started. I am thoroughly disillusioned with my self-publishing experience.
Over the past three years I’ve come to realize that without a team behind you, without a marketing campaign, without years of experience in knowing what will sell and what won’t, it’s my belief, and my experience, that you’re sunk. Unless you’re willing to put the effort into marketing your book 24 hours a day, to the exclusion of all other activity. I’ve come to realize that established publishing houses are there for a reason.
Last week, I met with literary agent Peter Buckman of the UK-based Ampersand Agency to talk about this very issue. He was keen to point out that we were living through the harshest publishing climate within living memory, but he insisted that self -publishing is not the answer
‘While self-publishing democratises the distribution of books, there’s no quality control, and most authors don’t get any proper return for their creative work, especially when e-books are often given away’ says Buckman.
So where does this leave the budding author? Harsh as it may seem, maybe we should look at where it left them in the past – with a rejection slip, and the passion to keep trying.
I asked Peter Buckman what needs to change within the existing mainstream publishing fabric
‘I think the changes need to be in the contract between publisher and author, which should be based on both sides taking an equitable share of risk and reward’
Anna Baddeley, in last Sunday’s Observer, stated that cases such as that of Beth Reekles are rare.
One only has to look at the amount of self-published work out there, and weigh it up against the occasional runaway success – such as that of Beth Reekles – to see how right Ms Baddeley is.
What are your thoughts on self-publishing? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org