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How to write and self-publish a book

passion / noun

1. any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate.

Bright sunshine and a comfortable breeze caressed a crowd of young and old, ambitious and hopeful, curious and aspiring writers who came to see Andy McDermott of Publicious explain the A – Z of self-publishing.

Beginning with the holy grail of writing – ‘writers write’ – Andy began by sharing his first writing experience – that of cocooning himself away from the distractions of the world and writing 150,000 words in six months. This effort would become his first novel – The Tiger Chase, which he re-released/self-published last year.

Although The Tiger Chase‘s first carnation was via a traditional publishing house – the time-honoured ‘method’ conception, Andy has seen the proverbial light and is now a leading convert of the self-publishing religion – see his company, Publicious. But first the donkey (before the cart).

In order to turn your beloved manuscript into that which you can hold in your hands – a book, or read electronically on a Kindle or one of its cousins (which incidentally dominated the majority of questions from the audience as we enter the ever expanding online world), Andy highlighted the role of editing as the most crucial step along the path to self-publication.

The integral role his editor – and editing in general albe it structural or copy – plays in reinventing work did however come with a warning: beware the financial pitfalls aspiring self-publishers can encounter in the shark-infested world of gun-for-hire editing. (Traditional publishers will generally edit – via a third party – your work for a fee, somewhere in the range of exorbitant.)

Those who do survive the editing process next confront the maze of submission guidelines agents and publishers inflict upon hopeful writers in an attempt to separate diamonds from the rough.

Whilst not wanting – intentionally – to spruik his own company, Andy suggested smaller companies like his own to navigate these treacherous waters while do get deeper and deeper, murkier and murkier, when successful applicants have to negotiate contracts and rights, royalties and costs.

This last battle, coupled with the fight for shelf space at our ever-dwindling retail book stores, leads to why you should self-publish – control.

Employing a company – funnily enough – like Andy’s, allows you to take control of your rights and royalties, bypassing marketing and distribution monopolies and employing social media – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – all on your ownsome. This means you control how your word gets out.

You control the spend. You control the look. You control the price. Self-publishing equals control. It’s not for the faint-hearted!

Paul Steiner, Media student, Southern Cross University

 

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