I’ve had two books published “properly” and was hoping that my book Freedom from Loneliness would be the third. I know in theory how to get a book published. But it wasn’t to be. Althought I had a publisher lined up – we even had an editorial meeting over a long lunch in a lovely London restaurant – we couldn’t agree on what direction the first chapter was going to take so the deal was off.
At first, I didn’t really consider self-publishing. For one thing, vanity publishing has always had such a bad press. I don’t want to consider myself as “vain” for a start. For another thing, I hadn’t made much money on the two books that had been published properly. If I had to pay a publisher to print my book, I’d be sure to make a loss.
But then two things happened. A friend sent me an article about Amanda Hocking, an American woman who’d put her work on Kindle in order to raise $300 and ended up earning $2.5 million. A few days later, another friend sent me an email with a link to his book on Amazon: he’d self-published too.
So I thought I might as well give it a try.
It’s been a steep learning curve, but I’ve rather enjoyed the climb. My first “mistake” was the cover. I couldn’t think what to do for the cover. I didn’t want to breach copyright or pay a photographer or artist, so I assumed my only option was to use one of my photos. I didn’t spend nearly long enough looking for the right cover and my first attempt looked amateur and rather unremarkable.
A few weeks after publishing the book, I decided to find a more professional looking option. I found a photo on Flickr of a boy on a beach. I loved the photo. It could symbolize both freedom and loneliness so was ideal for my book, entitled “Freedom from Loneliness.” According to Flickr, as long as I acknowledged the photographer, Alan Cleaver, I could use the photo free of charge, even on a commercial project. I didn’t like to do that though, so I emailed Alan asking for permission, and explaining that my book was a fundraising project for charity. To my delight, he said I could use the photo and I set about adding the text in Photoshop. The book looks so much more professional as a result.
There’s been a few sales so far – not many but a few. I haven’t made anything like Amanda Hocking’s $2.5 million. In fact, I haven’t made the $300 she originally set out to make! But I’ve had a lot of fun and three five-star reviews of the book on Amazon.
Plus there’s something rather satisfying about learning new things and this self-publishing malarchy has certainly been a learning experience.