A Guide To Self-Publishing Part I

Posted on: 05 September 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

The first part of a five chapter series on self-publishing.

So you’ve written a book and you’ve decided you're going to publish it yourself. Are you sure?  It’s going to cost you and it’s unlikely that you will make any money out of it. So are you still certain?  Okay, let’s go.

You know there are scores of people just waiting to publish your work. Yes, despite all of the refusals you might have received up to this point, now that you are willing to pay they’ll be queuing up for the privilege of publishing your work.  But take care. There are sharks about!

What you are looking for is someone to do the layout of your work and someone to do the printing. And it may be the same person or firm doing the two tasks. Of course, you may know of someone who can do the layout for you. You might even be able among the minority able to do it for yourself. But let’s say you’re looking for a publishing firm to take most of the work off your hands. 

In this year’s Writers & Artists Yearbook three publishers who will publish your work for you are acknowledged as being honest and straightforward.  I should certainly take this recommendation.  That is not to say that other firms are unreliable but these three have, so it seems, passed all tests. 

Even so you cannot hand over everything to another party. Whoever does the layout and printing you will have to learn a number of things about books. And not just about writing. In addition to being the author, you are going to be the editor, designer, publicity manager, sales manager and financial director. Believe me, the writing is the easy bit.

But now let’s go back to the beginning. Your manuscript is finished. Let’s just consider editing the book. Go on. Tell me. You’ve read it over and over and you’ve eliminated every spelling error, corrected each flaw in the punctuation, seen every time you have inadvertently repeated a word or missed out a word. And you’re satisfied. 

Well, pick up the manuscript again and read it through aloud if you have time (though ignore this if you’ve attempted something similar in length to War & Peace). Alternatively, take out a ruler and work your way down each page line by line and check again for mistakes. And after that if you have someone who is reliable and is capable of reading text for basic errors of this kind use whatever help you can.

I am assuming that, of course, that you also have a writing colleague to read your book through, somebody who will tell you that such and such a paragraph is not clear enough, that there is a whole half page of unnecessary material, that some of your dialogue, if you are writing fiction, doesn’t ring true.

Oh, it is hurtful when people come back with that kind of comment on your work but give it a week or two and read through your material again. And bear in mind the comments you have been given.

Yes, I know, it slows the whole business up but you don’t want to immortalise your errors, do you?

By Johnnie Johnson

About The Author

Johnnie Johnson and David Arscott have written more than 60 titles between them, both fiction and non-fiction, and have a broad experience of both mainstream and self-publishing.

Now the two local authors with a wealth of publishing experience between them are organising a day's seminar in Lewes to take writers through the process of organising your book, hardware and software, designing a cover, preparing your book for the printer, costing and pricing and promotion and distribution.

Their seminar is at the John Harvey Tavern in Lewes, on Tuesday, 21st October, from 10am until 4pm.

The fee is £100 a head, including morning coffee and tea in the afternoon. The Tavern serves snacks and lunches.

For further details contact David or Johnnie by Tuesday 30th September on:

Johnnie Johnson: 01323 725524 or johnhijo@btinternet.com
Website: www.johnniejohnson.co.uk

David Arscott: 01273 470100 or pomegranatepress@aol.com
Website: www.pomegranate-press.co.uk.

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