The website of the historical fiction writer.

The Festival of Writing 2013 Part Eleven: Should I Self-Publish?

As I’ve already done this I thought I would go along to this workshop to see what other experiences people have. Soon there will be a book of Ghost Stories coming out by yours’ truly so I went to pick up some tips.

David Gaughran ( has much experience in the field of self-publishing and took us through the advantages of being an author that publishes his/her own work. He began by telling us that many bestsellers have published their own work and even some of literature’s best loved works have had the dreaded one-star treatment on Amazon:

As mentioned earlier in this series of posts, the tradition publishing chain goes like this: Writer – Agent – Publisher – Bookseller – Reader with the money going back the other way. As the money bounces back to the writer, each taking their cut. David showed us some statistics that said sellers tend to get 50% of the printed book and 30% for e-books while publishers get 37.5% for hardbacks, 40% for paperbacks and 52.5% for e-books. Authors are left with 12.5%, 10% and 17.5% respectively. Now there is a new chain for self-publishing that is the writer passing books to the reader with the cash going back the other way (although there is occasionally a retailer taking a cut too).

Self-publishing, particularly electronic publishing, is becoming increasingly attractive to writers. There can be royalties as much as 70%, the payment is quick, you get to put your work out there relatively quickly and have complete creative control. There is also a change in perceptions towards self-publishing. There is less stigma surrounding it and readers care more about who writes the book than the people who publish it. Indie authors also currently have roughly 30% of the market share and could well continue to rise.

This was a very interesting talk with plenty of advice that will stand anyone in good stead if they want to go down the self-publishing route.


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