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Why self-publish?
CEO of FGI Publishing
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…
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?
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
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)
Collapse of publishing?
 Amazon
 Pirating of books; most famous books in copyright
available free online
 Bookshops disappearing
 Publishers struggling
 Rise of self-publishing
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”
Self publishing websites
 Amazon: Createspace.com & Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)
 Indie: BOOK BABY www.bookbaby.com
 Photos: BLURB www.blurb.co.uk
 Great title rater: LULU www.lulu.com
 Design tools: SMASH WORDS www.smashwords.com
 UK based: AUTHOR HOUSE www.authorhouse.co.uk
 Live-chat: IUNIVERSE www.iuniverse.com
 Author-centric (?): XLIBRIS www.xlibris.com
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.
Jekyll
Romeo and Juliet
Jekyll drama
Blake
Learning Matters
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…
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):
http://www.newselfpublishing.com/
 Proof-reading: I hate it but it has to be done, and still
there are mistakes…
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: sir@francisgilbert.co.uk, and www.francisgilbert.co.uk
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

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Why self publish?

  • 1. Why self-publish? CEO of FGI Publishing
  • 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. 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. 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. 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. Collapse of publishing?  Amazon  Pirating of books; most famous books in copyright available free online  Bookshops disappearing  Publishers struggling  Rise of self-publishing
  • 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. Self publishing websites  Amazon: Createspace.com & Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)  Indie: BOOK BABY www.bookbaby.com  Photos: BLURB www.blurb.co.uk  Great title rater: LULU www.lulu.com  Design tools: SMASH WORDS www.smashwords.com  UK based: AUTHOR HOUSE www.authorhouse.co.uk  Live-chat: IUNIVERSE www.iuniverse.com  Author-centric (?): XLIBRIS www.xlibris.com
  • 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.
  • 13. Blake
  • 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. 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): http://www.newselfpublishing.com/  Proof-reading: I hate it but it has to be done, and still there are mistakes…
  • 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: sir@francisgilbert.co.uk, and www.francisgilbert.co.uk
  • 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