The perils of self-publishing

Swimming with sharks

Swimming with sharks

In recent weeks a number of first-time authors have come my way, wanting to discuss ways and means of publishing their manuscripts. These days technology can make authors of us all, particularly retirees, and I applaud their commitment and enthusiasm. However I have been concerned at the ‘deals’ out there for the unwary, and how easy it is for the inexperienced to be sucked in to a publishing contract which costs a lot, seems to promise much, but in the end delivers very little.

Some of these operators are based in the U.S., but Australia has its fair share. They’re good at making the simple tasks associated with publishing sound more complicated and expensive than they are; they seem to fall short when it comes to delivering a useful manuscript appraisal, and affordable editing services – not to mention any distribution mechanism (eg ‘we will give you the tools to approach local publishers with your book’??? – in other words, it’s up to you to trudge around bookshops trying to find a decision-maker who is prepared to stock your book).

So be careful! Check the cost and the promised output very thoroughly. Ask if they can put you in touch with a couple of their current clients, and get their views. Assess whether you’d be getting value for money. If you belong to your local Writers Centre, seek their advice; they hear the best and worst from their members.

But don’t stop writing!

by Pat Noad


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    Judy Waugh

    Wise words, Pat! Particularly about keeping on writing.

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    Lori Hurst

    I know a number of authors who have gone down the self-publishing road & paid out large amounts to get little back. First time can be scary but there are ways of self publishing once you have the know how that you can do yourself. and still stay in control of the process. I self-published last year through Createspace and it worked out well for me. Chasing up information from writer’s group and writer’s centers is a good start.

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      Pat Noad

      Glad to hear Createspace worked for you. I agree with you – there are ways and means of getting your book out to a good standard at a reasonable cost. You simply have to do a good deal of groundwork first, and find out what questions you should be asking.

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