On Self-Publishing Our Doris

It’s no secret that self-publishing has taken off in a big way in recent years.

A lot of books are self-published daily, some say it’s due to the easiness – uploading a book to one of many POD sites and hoping for the best – and indie writers losing faith in mainstream publishing. There are arguments for and against self-publishing and there are those who still stigmatise the industry as being nothing more than vanity at its worst.

When I was younger I did not believe I would self-publish a book. Completely against the idea, I listened to everything Writing Magazine said – I would not read self-published books, would not entertain the idea that they could possibly be good.

I’m not sure when I changed my mind.

When I began to write Our Doris I did not plan on anyone else in the world seeing them. During writing bursts at the Macclesfield Creative Writing Group, I would scribble down a short anecdote about Doris and forget about it until the next week. Over time the stories grew, characters appeared, characters stayed and folk commented that they’d like to see a book about Doris.

The group have a few writers who have self-published their own books, purchasing ISBNs from Nielsens and using printers to get their books out there. I’ve helped create two anthologies that we’ve sold to local people.

I had a conversation with Margaret Holbrook, local indie author, and the idea to create a book of monologues grew from there. I would ten monologues to a set amount of words, similar to a radio series, in that each should take half an hour to be performed. I didn’t think there would be any place in mainstream publishing for the book and had grown accustomed to the idea of doing all the work myself.

I’m a bit possessive of my work so this meant I could do the cover design and book design myself. I knew that the work would most likely be difficult – I’d have to ask book shops if they would take my book and although Waterstones will accept self-published books you have to go through Gardners.

I had the backlog of material to go through and thought I could spend a month on the book, bring it out and hope the writers’ group would purchase copies. After that I envisaged nothing more happening. With Nielsens you have to buy ten ISBNs right off the bat, and I thought I’ve got about sixty years left on the planet, I could use them in that time.

I’ve researched my options – considered posting the monologues to this blog – but I like the idea of a physical book. As I finish the book, I hope to arrange some readings and have spoken to a librarian already about possibly launching my book at their library.

There’s a lot going on; I imagine it’s going to get busier because I bought a diary – I’ve not made many appointments yet – only the odd open mic, but I’m getting there.

Until next time, that is all.

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