Why I chose to self publish

The world of publishing is complex and seemingly difficult to break into. We’ve all heard the stories of how successful authors were turned away by agents and publishers dozens of times before they were signed up – including writers like Stephen King and JK Rowling.  

Publishers take a huge percentage of the sale of a book. In return, they provide editors, proof readers, cover art, book design and arrange all the printing. They also provide the sales and marketing expertise.

Self publishing has long been considered second-rate and vain. Writers would only self publish as a last resort and very few of them had any success, being left with thousands of books sat in their dining room with no way to distribute them.

But with the advent of the Kindle, and other e-book readers, this is no longer the case.

How often do you look at the copyright page of an e-book to see who the publisher is. Hardly ever I bet. I recently read a trilogy of books – Wool by Hugh Howey – and really enjoyed them. I had no idea they were self published until I started investigating self publishing myself. Readers don’t care who publishes a book, they just care that it’s a good read.

When I first came up with the idea for ‘How to get a job in PR’ my intention was always to approach a publisher of non-fiction. One that had previously published non-fiction books with a PR theme. Then, I spoke to two PR authors both of which have been published by traditional publishers, and both of which have self-published. They both said the same thing – publishers do nothing useful. You still have to do the vast majority of promotion yourself and you get a tiny cut of the profit.

I worried that this book would not be taken seriously if I didn’t go through a publisher, then I thought about the books that these two PR authors had written and do you know what – I didn’t know without checking the copyright pages which were published by a publisher, and which were self-published.

The services that publishers provide to authors – editing, layout, cover design and printing – are still important. It *is* possible to self publish and do all of those things yourself and so in theory, you could publish a book and not have it cost you a penny, but I decided to hire professionals to take care of the aspects of publishing I have no experience in.

For the marketing and promotion I have a marketing and PR plan. It is not very complicated – it’s one side of A4 – and this Facebook author page is part of that plan.

For the printing, having investigated off set printing (where you get a run of books printed and then you distribute them to sellers, including Amazon, yourself) I have decided that for me, print on demand will work better (unless I suddenly find I have an order of 10,000 books) and have chosen Amazon’s Createspace to do that for me.

So is it vain that I have chosen to self publish? Possibly, but I have written a book which I believe is genuinely needed by the PR industry and by graduates and other entry-level job seekers looking to get into the communications industry. Judging by the response I’ve had by over 60 (and counting) PR practitioners who have contributed to the book, they believe it too.


How to get a job in PR will be out on 10th December


Filed under Books, PR