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Problems and pitfalls of self publication (by Phillipa Connolly)

29 February 2016

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Get your free guide to publishing with expert industry advice, tips and hints.

Over the coming months we'll be tapping into your thoughts, experiences, digging around for helpful writing tips and giving you the chance to reach other likeminded souls and share your musings, ideas and personal stories. It's a great way for us to get to know you better, and for others to learn from the people who have 'been there, bough the T-shirt'!

Here's Phillippa's Submission - her personal self-publishing story.

Snobbery abounds in the publishing world and self-publishing bares the brunt of that snobbery. Established authors and traditional publishers don't appear to take self published authors seriously and see self-publication as a vanity, where trashy writing is often spewed out across the pages. I don't agree. As a self-published author you have to be a writer, critique, editor, self-editor, marketer, salesperson and promoter of your own work. 

My first dip into the water of self publishing was after the normal round of rejections from traditional publishers. I was despondent to begin with, but I had an important story to tell and wasn't going to be put off. Disabled people aren't often featured as main characters in fictional works and who better to write about a disabled person, than an author who has that same disability? With determination, I began to approach self publishing companies, paid for a professional edit of my novel and did my research.


The first company I decided to go for, after buying various writing magazines from the supermarket, was Indepenpress, who had everything going for them. Despite a hefty publication fee, they got going on turning my book into a well-polished finished novel, ready for publication. Meanwhile, after the edit, I emailed various authors and got their reviews and endorsements, which gave me a buzz. The cover was done and launch date set.

The sales figures were low. My friends and family bought it and I gave away review copies. I sent copies to local schools as it was a YA novel and did signings in a local bookshop. The early days as a unknown writer is tough. Then came the toughest part, after a year, the publishing company went bust. I hadn't been paid any royalties and they forwarded me onto another self publishing company called Author Essentials. I paid another fee, they took over book sales and created an e book. Unless I pushed my work, books weren't going to fly out the stock room.

So, I set up a website, a facebook author page, connected with other authors and carried on writing. I now have two more books currently being edited and in the pipeline. Then, last year the CEO of Author Essentials died unexpectedly. I'd had no royalties paid; my initial investment in the book had gone down the tubes with no return. But New Generation Publishing have now taken over the novel and I'm hoping for greater things. I never give up and am hoping to turn a hobby, my writing into another stream of income. My advice to self published authors is never give up, believe in your work, ignore the dream stealers and keep going anyway. You have stories inside you, and they are ones that need to be told.


NGP Says

Thanks so much for being our first article writer Phillipa! Sounds like you've had a tough start! Not everyone realises the vast differences between traditional publishers and the SelfPub route but it sounds like you've got the enthusiasm and right attitude to succeed though. Here to help push you in the right direction!

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