Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Self-published and satisfied

I'm currently feeling very pleased with myself as I've finally made my collection of fiction, Perversities of Faith, available as an e-book on Amazon.

It's not what I dreamed of for a publishing debut over the years I slogged away along the traditional route, but I got fed up with trying to impress people in the business a few years ago. I've got enough confidence in my work to know that it's better than a lot of stuff that does get published, even some of the books on the bestseller lists. But I'm not famous for something else, I don't know lots of people in the industry and I've never had the shred of luck that comes with a manuscript falling onto the right desk at the right time. And self-publishing seems to be following the route set by the music industry in using the internet as a route to get new work out there – good and bad – without the approval of people who often get it wrong. So I figure my book has as much legitimacy as any fiction a big company will publish by a comedian/actor/politician or the brother-in-law of the woman who runs the marketing department.

At the moment I'm also feeling very well disposed towards Amazon. It makes it easy for writers to self-publish for Kindle; I had to spend some time fiddling about with an HTML version of my manuscript, and it's one of the few times that I've actually read terms and conditions from beginning to end, but I expect it would have been much harder to do everything for myself, and the book's now available to anyone with an internet connection and a credit card.

The next step – making a hard copy available through Amazon's CreateSpace – looks more daunting. I spent some time on its website this morning, realised it all works from the US, and shuddered at the thought of having to deal with the US tax authorities, who seem to have a reputation akin to the Stasi. Also, the first effort to format the book didn't work, and I suspect that getting the ODF document into shape will have me growling at the computer and muttering a few profanities.

But I don't mind. The book's out there, people can find it, and I've broken through that mental barrier between being an aspiring fiction writer and someone who does it for real. And I know that I've already sold some copies.

All I've got to do is get lots of people interested in buying the book, hopefully on both sides of the Atlantic. That could be even harder than writing it, but facing up to that is a lot better than the thought of more approaches literary agents. I've got a target market among atheists and a strategy for tapping it into it through social media, I've started to hone my tweeting skills, set up a website, and begun to blow the trumpet at anyone who may be interested.

This is fun.

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