Thursday, June 27, 2013

Self Publishing Experiment.

When I started this blog back in 2006, it was with the aim of recording my journey to achieve the "impossible": a traditional publishing deal, via a literary agent, for my works of commercial fiction. I had no desire to approach vanity publishers - I wanted to get my books onto the shelves of bookstores up and down the country.

In 2010, contrary to all of the naysayers and the admittedly enormous odds, I achieved my goal and am now a happily contracted full-time author. And at the end of 2012, being so incredibly busy with my writing, I blogged here that I would be moving away from this blog as it had achieved all that I had hoped it would and would remain as a record for other aspiring writers who might come this way of what I went through.

However, with the swiftly changing face of the publishing industry now consumed by the incredible rise of digital print ( enough of which has already been written across the Internet ) I have decided to do something that many of my readers and followers might think a bit odd. Having achieved a traditional publishing deal, I'm now going to attempt self-publishing alongside my traditional contracts.

The reasons for this are many and varied, but the driving force behind my decision is that those who succeed do so by adapting to change: survival of the smartest ( hopefully!). The digital market is not just here to stay, it is the future. After studying the publishing world for several months, and talking to many other authors from both sides of the divide, I have decided that if I don't get involved in it, then the new market might well pass me by before I can make my mark upon it.

The simple truth is that authors these days no longer need rely only on major traditional publishers to get their work noticed. The list of names who have achieved enormous success through self-publishing is growing every day and those who have done so got there not by luck at all: it was through the same hard work as any author, traditionally published or not.

One of my books, written for a major publisher, was recently turned down not because it was unready or poorly written ( in fact the editor in question loved it ). It was rejected because "the market was not receptive to it right now". In other words, "people aren't buying that kind of book so we can't guarantee a profit in buying it". That book is my newly self-published YA title, "Soul Seekers".

The reason for me deciding not to simply accept their decision but to self-publish is that everybody who read the draft of the novel loved it. To me, that means that other people will probably love it too. Traditional publishing is a business, and if a business model looks bad then it's not wise to put money behind it. But for the self-publishing author, the trials of convincing a marketing department and a sales department that a title is worth buying are removed. There is little outlay required, and the book can be on the market within weeks. Then the really hard work begins - effectively promoting that work.

So, in summary, I'm going to record an entirely new journey. While I remain hard at work on traditional publishing contracts I'm also going to self-publish titles which are turned down for business and market-forces reasons by traditional publishers, and see whether their decisions were the right ones or whether my gut instinct for a "good" book is better.

The new journey starts here. This blog is active again and I'll try and post updates as regularly as my schedule allows. I should point out that this will not involve me endlessly posting adverts for my novels: I don't believe in that kind of "spam marketing" as it annoys the hell out of me. Instead, I'll post what I learn, how things are going in terms of sales, how sales improve ( again, hopefully ) as I learn to promote the books and so on.

Let's see if one of the BIG publishers was wrong and I was right...


Anonymous said...

Hi Dean,

thanks for sharing all this with us! Can't wait to see how your are getting on!
I wish you all the best of luck with your novels!
Best regards from Austria

Dean Crawford said...

Thanks Nadine!

Jen Black said...

An exciting venture. I'll be following with great interest.

Dean Crawford said...

Thanks Jen, anything useful I learn I'll pass on... :)

Col Bury said...

Why not, eh? Nothing to lose.

Lots of other traditionally published authors also self-publish, especially with the revitalized short story collections, or novellas.

Looking forward to your updates on this, mate. All the best with it. I hope it takes off!


Dean Crawford said...

Thanks Col! Digital's the future, ultimately, so now's the time to get involved. Just planning my marketing strategies etc. Hoping to self-publish two more titles this year, both full novels ( adult thrillers ). Should be very interesting...!