Thursday, September 20, 2012

A pre-holiday blog about self-publishing

A pre-holiday blog about self-publishing.
I am sure you have all heard and often spoken those hallowed words, ‘If I knew then what I know now.’ Isn’t it easy to look backwards and wonder at what could have been? I think that one should stop knocking oneself and take into account that knowledge and just move on. That is what I have decided to do, re the world of ‘self-publishing.’
I feel very different now as the holidays approach. I am ready to get out there and promote my books, even if it puts a few people off. I have learnt that if I don’t do this, nothing will happen and the huge amounts of money I have ‘invested’ will be as ‘slurry down the dunny.’ (That’s for my Kiwi and Aussie readers!).
Earlier this year I was almost ready to give up, when all my efforts were ‘heading south.’ It felt like everything had been for nothing. My previous publisher was in dire straits and my books were accompanying her to wherever that place she was heading. I had no idea how many books I had sold and it was only more confusing when I noticed that some of my books were in various libraries. Damned if I was the recipient of any largess, despite my requests for information about sales. That may help to explain my less than sympathetic  utterings about my former publsiher.
To top it off, I paid all my bills to what was essentially a non-existent company----dumb eh? It was then that I decided to ‘go out on my own.’ There was a big risk in doing that. I do not have the contacts and expertise to get my books ‘out there.’ I was going to need to dig deep and expunge any vestiges of meekness and shyness that I had ever possessed. That could well mean pissing off a few people and endangering a few relationships.  I steeled myself for rejection emails and ‘please take me off your list’ replies.
First issue: I needed to get my two books at the time, ‘Coastal Yarns’ and ‘Roskill’ reissued with new ISBN numbers and possibly new covers. I found out that it was possibly not a good move to keep the same covers. That was a pity, because I liked both covers. I have no beef with the ex-publisher on issues of artistic merit.
Secondly, I had to get new PDF files in order for the printer to go ahead and re-publish the books. I decided to have them re-edited as well. I know my first two books had many mistakes and typos in them. I ‘never’ see these when I am looking, but they pop-out when I am simply reading them. Of course lots of friends were more than happy to point them out (bless them).  I hate it when I read a library book and some twat with a complex has gone through and underlined the mistakes, so I guess even the so-called professionals make mistakes.
I applied for new ISBN numbers. These are important in that they separate my book from the first prints and the previous publisher. Now, anyone making enquiries can be put in touch with me directly. Hell, I think that’s what it all means! I also re-established a relationship with my printer and arranged to deal with them directly. The savings there are big. I don’t get charged for all of these obscure add-ons, but it also means that I have to develop networks of my own. That has taken time.
I found people to edit and proofread the new files. It seems that no matter how many times I do this I can still find the odd mistake in the finished product. The new covers were easy enough and I was even able to use a picture I took on an old phone for the cover for ‘Talk To Me,’ my latest book. This too all costs money. The old balance sheet was and is looking pretty sad, but what else can I do---stop now?  Don’t think so.
Finally, I had to do something about my website. The old one was defunct, stuffed, call it what you will. A friend put me on to a couple who have turned up trumps. Alexandra and Derek designed the website and also re-edited Coastal Yarns. Derek came up with an amazing picture for the front cover of the re-issued ‘Coastal Yarns.’ No cheap camera this time.
I have received the new copies of ‘Roskill’ and ‘Talk To Me,’ and next week the new edition of ‘Coastal Yarns’ will join them. Now it is over to me to get them out there.
If you are interested in my books, just buy them through the website or contact me direct—also through the website. Maybe you do not want to buy them, but would like to read them. That’s easy enough in NZ. Just go to the website for your local library or visit them and ask them if they have the books in stock. They won’t have the new editions, so they will need to buy them through my website. You only need the title and author name. If you have the ISBN numbers that’s good too---- that is available on my website. They get the books---I win, you win---simple.   www.authorneilcoleman.com
Look out for ‘SONS OF ORPHEUS,’ an historical novel split into three books, based on the sinking of the Orpheus, NZ’s worst ever maritime disaster. It tells the story of three fictional characters but is based around my perception of real events in NZ and Australian history.
Thanks so much for your support, past and future.
Neil 21.9.12