One of the investments I made when looking into publishing Thy Fearful Symmetry independently of a publishing house was to join the Alliance of Independent Authors. This a new and non-profit organisation, offering advice, support, services, and advocacy to those making a similar decision to pursue self-publishing in a serious way.
I’ve already got my money’s worth from joining in cogent and sensible advice alone. A lot of this is available elsewhere on the Internet, but can be difficult to find among the hyperbole and nonsense that often masquerades as opinion and advice on self-publishing. What ALLI offers is the good stuff, in one place, along with the company and advice of people already making a success (often a significant success) of self-publishing. I strongly recommend joining, if this is a route you’re thinking about. It’s not a group to sell books to or pimp your wares, but offers some of the support and direction that not having a publisher can take away from you.
Anyway, while there the other day I got chatting with Linda Gillard, an author already making a better success of self-publishing than I am, about some of the pitfalls of self-publishing, particularly for new writers. The chat drew some interest, and crime author Jill Marsh asked whether she might publish the conversation outside of the ALLI group, for those who might be interested. Go and check it out. I particularly recommend it to new authors, wondering whether they should skip publishing houses from the word go, and move straight to self-publishing. It raises some questions about career development that I think often get skipped over by newer authors, caught up in the excitement of being able to take their fiction straight to readers. It doesn’t offer any concrete answers, but it raises some questions worth thinking about. The chat considers some implications of self-publishing, rather than self-publishing itself, and also touches on my new motto.
It’s the book, stupid.
Later the same day, with all this on my mind, I also chatted with Joseph D’Lacey and others, about where I think self-publishing best sits in most writing careers.
So take a five minute break from any apocalyptic horror novels you might be caught up in*, and go and have a read and a ponder over a cup of coffee.
*you see what I did there? That’s pure subtlety, that is. Subtlety distilled. Buy my book.