Why did I choose to self-publish?
There are a number of reasons. One is the role-modelling from my sons, Paul (an actor and voice-over artist) and Drew (a musician with the group Karnivool). They and their then partners were examples of taking a punt and making things happen for yourself.
The second was the response from publishers. I sent Hiding Place to two publishers. The one that formally replied told me that the company receives in excess of 800 manuscripts annually, selects about thirty, and only one of those is usually a new author. I tried sending to other six other publishers to test that information and not one of them replied beyond saying they had received the manuscript. I heard nothing more.
(I also sent to people like David Koch [as President of Port Adelaide and in his television role] and to David Wenham, as well as the presidents and CEOs of other AFL clubs. Apart from the West Coast Eagles and the Fremantle Dockers I never received a reply from any them and I was out of pocket to tune of about twenty novels, along with postage of around $14.00 per novel. I know these people are busy, I know vast amounts of material cross their desks and those of their assistants, but I pray, earnestly, that I never become like that – to busy to get a PA to send a note or an email of acknowledgement, whatever else the note or email contains.)
My third reason was wanting to get the novel published and out there. At my age, time to achieve that is less than it was twenty years ago. I took the punt, I published, and I have immense pride each time I look at either novel currently in print. As I said to someone, it’s like holding your children for the time after their respective births, and thinking, “Hey, I had a lot to do with creating that!!!”
I decided I wasn’t going to play that game any more . Sure, it costs money to self-publish, including obtaining covers, ISBN, bar codes and all of that sort of thing, and it’s a lot of hard work getting your work ready to publish. I couldn’t have done it without vast assistance from many people, including Karen and Ian Wansbrough. But the learning that one does is mind-blowing and I am really grateful for those experiences.
My first effort, Hiding Place, was done through a reputable American self-publishing firm called Balboa Press. As much as I appreciated their efforts, I found it was costing me around $16.00 per book. If one goes down the road of consignment (putting the novel into bookshops) on a 60%-40 % per cent split between me and the store, I was making about $3.00 per book. Even so, I learned a huge amount from that experience which I have put to good use for The WILUNA Solution and the next novel, Turn on a Light.
The cost per novel for The WILUNA Solution came back to $7.50, using a local printing firm, Fineline Print. They’ve been great, not only in terms of price and quality, but in terms of assisting in many small ways, including with advice on ways to do things yourself.
With all of that stated, I admit haven’t given up on finding a publisher, but it isn’t mymain objective. My objective now is to publish and sell as many fictional novels as possible. I will still work with independent bookshops and other types of shops (for example, Loose Produce over the road from my home has sold about 15 copies of Hiding Place) but I am going to deal with shops that have given me a sympathetic ear and done small things to promote the novel.
I will talk more on the selling process as I go along.