Thursday, 12 May 2011

Advice for Indie Authors: Think before you print!

Advice for Indie Authors: Think before you print!
They say that everyone has got a book in them, which apart from sounding quite painful (sorry – bad joke), it probably goes a long way to explaining why so many people are turning to self-publishing.

The numbers speak for themselves, with some self-publishing companies in the UK boasting of 40,000 authors on their books (pardon the pun) with over 60,000 titles.

But there is of course the argument of quality over quantity when it comes to self-publishing, and it certainly adds up when you consider that just one best-selling novel will easily outsell 60,000 bad ones.

In the current climate, the majority of literary agents and the major book publishers will now take on just one new writer a year; so for an aspiring new author like me, self-publishing makes sense. It also offers the author more control over their work.

After much research, I eventually decided to self-publish with a company called Pen Press. Unlike their rivals who churn out authors and books by the dozen, Pen Press only published 137 commercially available books last year.

Whereas this may not seem as much when compared to companies who are publishing titles in their thousands, Pen Press pride themselves on offering a tailor made experience for their authors.

“We work hard to ensure that the author feels like they have a working relationship with every member of staff they deal with at Pen Press and are very comfortable contacting us for assistance throughout the process of bringing their book to life and beyond,” Danny Bowman, the Marketing Manager at Pen Press, told me.

I have to say I am already reaping the benefits from this approach. Four weeks ago I received a Reader’s Report from Pen Press after submitting my manuscript. It was so refreshing to receive professional feedback after dedicating over two years of hard work to make my novel, The Drought, a reality.

Of course I had previously received positive feedback from friends and family, but what else were they going to say? You only have to tune into Britain’s Got Talent every Saturday to bear witness to a whole host of sorry souls who have been encouraged by their loved ones to share their talent with the world.

The Readers Report offered an unbiased opinion of my work and pulled no punches. Unlike my family and friends, it didn’t care if it hurt my feelings. It told it to me straight – what was good about the novel and what wasn’t. It allowed me to go back to the drawing board and change the parts that needed changing.

My book is now in the process of going through the proof-reading and copy-editing stage, another service offered as part of the Pen Press package. After working in the publishing industry for over five years, I am well aware of the pitfalls of a print job done badly or littered with errors. When this happens, print can certainly be one of the most unforgiving forms of media, so these services are essential before I even consider getting around to the actual printing.

With any piece of printed material, you only have one shot at the reader – they don’t care if you can correct your mistakes and supply a new book via print on demand at a later date. And as the author, you really don’t have any excuses for this to happen, but some people find out the hard way!

While self-publishing may not be the traditional form of book printing, it still needs to be professional, and so far I can’t have any complaints in that department. Onwards and upwards!

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1 comment :

  1. Hi. Can I use this for my email signature?