Of course you did; you took a degree in the history of the print industry right? How obtuse of me. Okay, let me try another one.
Did you know that The Diamond Sūtra - printed on a wood block press around 868 AD in China - is earliest complete survival of a dated printed book?
I can tell by some of your murmurings that I am still failing to impress you. After all, any fool can find out this sort of information on Wikipedia. Okay, give me one last shot.
Did you know that two years ago I finished writing my first ever novel?
Ha! I finally have you on that one! The again, why should you know that? After all, two years on and I still haven't managed to get the damn thing published.
Since 2009 I have lost count of submission letters I have sent to publishing houses and literary agents, offering them the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take me and my work on, only to receive a rejection letter informing me that financial restraints now limit them to taking on just one new writer a year. One new writer a year!
So where does that leave me? Like many frustrated authors, I could publish my work on the Internet for free, perhaps even on this blog right here! After all, here I have on my doorstep an audience in the millions - billions in fact - to showcase my work to.
Then again, the appeal of someone stumbling across my work by accident during a random Google search, and clicking off just as quickly, doesn't quite do it for me. And I get the feeling there is a good chance it could get lost in the billions of cyber pages out there (unless I name the book Click here for porn - that might get me a few more clicks!).
After all the hours I spent typing away at my laptop night after night, for months on end, my dream was not to see my words uploaded onto a computer screen in the hope that it might get seen. Call me old fashioned, but the goal of all my hard work was to finally see my words on the pages of a printed book, just like The Diamond Sūtra or The Gutenberg Bible all those centuries ago.
And apparently I am not alone in this way of thinking, hence why the self-publishing industry is now such big business.
According to US trade magazine Publishers Weekly, there are more then 86,300 publishing companies worldwide, with self-publishers making up a vast majority of that number. Depending on what figures you want to believe, it is estimated there are 300-400 mid-sized publishers, and six large well-known publishers. That leaves a huge number for the self-publishing fraternity to fall into.
Those figures might sound astonishing at first glance, but perhaps less so when you look at the figures published by Lulu.com, one of the largest self-publishing companies in the world. They have published work for over 1.1 million people since 2002, from more than 200 countries, and add 20,000 titles to their catalogue each month.
For someone like me, self-publishing not only represents a fantastic, yet daunting, opportunity to have my work published in both paperback and eBook form, but perhaps more importantly here is an example of where a print business has evolved with new technology, and is certainly thriving.
I want to find out more about this sector of the print industry that seems to be growing by the day, so tomorrow I am off to the London Book Fair at Earls Court to meet with Grace Rafael, who is Director of Indepenpress Publishing Ltd (Stand E205), in the main exhibition hall. Indepenpress have a successful self-publishing division and imprint, Pen Press, and it is with Pen Press that I will be self-publishing my book with.
This is the start of my journey to create a printed product, using all of the tools and technology at my disposal to make it a success, and to prove that print is not dead, it's simply evolving. I hope you enjoy the ride.
|This blog was originally posted on printweek.com|