The NO FLY ZONE over northern Europe and UK affected far more than holiday-makers. Kenyan farm workers were laid off, German car production was suspended due to a lack of spare parts, British fencers were stranded in Beijing ------- and for anyone involved in publishing, the 2010 London Book Fair, forecast to be the best ever ----- was little short of a disaster.
One publisher told me that 70% of his meetings had been cancelled. American and Spanish agents were conspicuously absent but also unable to make it, the South African contingent held a `Not the London Book Fair’ in Cape Town. Good for them!
If anything the LBF was awash with aspiring authors. Writers are always lurking among the exhibition stands, but this year with the rising interest in self published works, they were out like a swarm of bees.
I listened to an excellent talk on the merits of DIY by Siobhan Curham, a successful young self published author who provided useful advice to any writer considering this route.
The strongest argument for self-publishing is that as publishing houses expect authors to do most of the marketing, why not go ahead and publish your book yourself.
All very well, but like any business, self publishing requires investment and not just the cost of paying a printer, or one of the many companies who specialise in this field. You must employ a competent editor and while family can be helpfully picky in pointing out typos - better to pay a professional proof reader.
Ditto advice for the cover design. Don`t ask your best friend who is a dab hand at art to do it. There are people specialising in book design and irrespective of the old adage --- don`t judge a book by it`s cover -people do, and if the cover is less than exciting - it will likely inhibit sales.
So just as digital cameras have revolutionised photography, self publishing is coming into its own but it must be total commitment.
Writing is only part of it - marketing and distribution follow on - so unless you`ve the time, the will and the means to invest in your project - don`t touch it. Otherwise go for it, best of luck and see you at next year`s London Book Fair.
Recommended reading: Dan Poynter`s Self-Publishing Manual: How to Write, Print and Sell Your Own Book ISBN 9 781568601427.
http://findingtheplot.co.uk/ Siobhan Curham