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Why self publish?

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A slideshow about the virtues of self-publishing.

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Why self publish?

  1. 1. Why self-publish? CEO of FGI Publishing
  2. 2. Aims  To show you my experiments with self-publishing  To argue that every creative writing student should have a go at self-publishing, at least once.  To argue that you should form “collectives” with other writers and set up your own publishing imprints  To use the tools of self-publishing to build a career…
  3. 3. A bit about myself  MA in Creative Writing in 1990  Teaching on and off for the last 25 years!  Best-selling „I‟m A Teacher, Get Me Out Of Here‟  Substantial advances for „Yob Nation‟, „Parent Power‟, „Working the System‟ and „The Last Day of Term‟  PhD in Creative Writing since 2009 with Blake Morrison and educational commentary with Professor Rosalyn George: a revolution of the mind?
  4. 4. The old „writing‟ paradigm? The slow burner  William Boyd, Margaret Atwood, Martin Amis, Julian Barnes, Ian McEwan, Andrea Levy  Small advances from a major publisher lead to big advances  Literary reviewing covers costs The sensation  Zadie Smith, Bo Fowler (?), Hari Kunzru  Prestigious media/teaching jobs  Celebrity, prizes
  5. 5. New paradigm?  From blogging, social media to book  Much more target-oriented: fan fiction, self-help, diet books  The “prolific” writer is now free!  The “niche” writer: small presses, collectives, can produce beautiful books at relatively low cost (Rick Puskinsky & Gilbert)  The “calling card” book: book to TV/radio/talks/jobs/ festivals  GONE: relying on advances/book reviewing to sustain a career (D.J. Taylor, Michael Arditti, Hugo Wililams)
  6. 6. Collapse of publishing?  Amazon  Pirating of books; most famous books in copyright available free online  Bookshops disappearing  Publishers struggling  Rise of self-publishing
  7. 7. Self-publishing Advantages  Control of your own work  Print on Demand (PoD) now cheap, not a huge investment  E-books can look professional  Royalties straight to you Disadvantages  No quality control  Not as “professional” looking, esp. paperbacks  No “advance”
  8. 8. Self publishing websites  Amazon: & Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)  Indie: BOOK BABY  Photos: BLURB  Great title rater: LULU  Design tools: SMASH WORDS  UK based: AUTHOR HOUSE  Live-chat: IUNIVERSE  Author-centric (?): XLIBRIS
  9. 9. FGI Publishing  Started with e-Books on Kindle last summer: a backlog of study guides  Graduated onto paperbacks and e-Books Sept, 2013  Useful for teaching  “Calling card”  Easy to change; I really like the control. It‟s my “mess- up”, no one else‟s (Yob Nation nightmare)  Good tool for planning over the next few years.
  10. 10. Jekyll
  11. 11. Romeo and Juliet
  12. 12. Jekyll drama
  13. 13. Blake
  14. 14. Learning Matters
  15. 15. Becoming a publisher of other writers  Roger Titcombe, „Learning Matters‟  Amazing to work with one or two authors in same subject area!! Incredible learning experience…  You realise what a privileged job being an editor with TIME is…
  16. 16. My rules  As little money as possible invested (even ISBNs);  Need help with cover design (cover designer tools);  Have to work on PC, use Word etc.  Why?  Free to experiment; all I have to waste is my time!  Learn a little about book design (for free):  Proof-reading: I hate it but it has to be done, and still there are mistakes…
  17. 17. Recommendations  Be humble: be prepared for people to laugh, say your book is crap.  Think about what you really want from your writing life.  Devise a “career” strategy for being a writer; think long-term if you‟re serious about writing, think 20 years from now!  Explore “non-media” career avenues: we need more “creatives” in SCHOOLS, on exam boards, in government, in the corporate world, in businesses…  Look very carefully at any contracts you sign with a publisher; “no advance, poor royalties” from a traditional publisher is a BAD DEAL!!  Experiment, nothing to lose but time and pride?  Get a non-fiction string to your bow: do a journalism course. This is tremendously useful for any job. Six week NCJ courses are fine.  Work with other like-minded people, set up a collective, e.g. Blackbird Books  Email:, and
  18. 18. Further contacts  The Literary Platform  The Literary Consultancy  The Alliance of the Society of Authors  The London Book Art Centre  Curved House  Society of Authors

A slideshow about the virtues of self-publishing.


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