A Debate on Self-Publishing – 25th June 2015

This week I found myself sat amidst a panel of local authors from our networking group, CHINDI for a lively Q&A session, in Chichester Library, to talk about the various paths we took in publishing.

A Big Turn out at Chichester Library Talk for CHINDI Authors Q&A Session

A Big Turn out at Chichester Library Talk for CHINDI Authors Q&A Session

I have to say I was a little amazed by the sheer volume of people pouring in through the door. One gentleman even said he’d heard something about us in the Telegraph. Yet it shows how much interest there is in self-published books. Where many years ago people turned their noses up if a book even showed a hint of being ‘self-published’ (and it used to be called ‘vanity publishing’) it is reassuring to know that “According to Jon Fine at the London Book Fair in April 2014, 30% of the top 100 books on Amazon are self-published – and that percentage is still rising.”

Hurrah to that – I enjoy a greater diversity of books which otherwise would have never seen the light of day if it hadn’t been for this flexible new platform. In the old days, the publishing industry was very controlling, thereby restricting the distribution of some great books I might never have discovered.

Now onto the discussion: Panel host Jill King and Jane Cable, (one of the other panel members) chose an author assisted program, known as Matador. They will provide a whole package: from cover design, formatting, publishing on Kindle and in Paperback – to offering marketing and PR services. They will even assist in the reviewing process via a website known as Netgalley – an excellent way of bumping up reviews as part of your book launch. Jane also used a professional editor to work with alongside a proofreader.

Authors Jeremy Good and Ray Green went their own separate ways in publishing their books, but used a selection of professional services; for example Ray used an editor but wasn’t entirely happy with the process – while both authors  had their book covers professionally designed and with excellent results. Jeremy used CreateSpace to publish his book, which is the route I took. Ray too now also uses CreateSpace. So they didn’t employ a company to handle the entire publishing process – just certain elements.

I am the one exception in so much as I did everything myself, mainly due to the fact that I regarded writing as more as a hobby than a profession and simply did not have the funds to invest in professional services at the time. So once I’d wrote my books, I did the editing and the proofreading myself – and coming from a design background with experience in photoshop, I designed my own covers too using library images.

Many of us have used Beta readers at some point (people who read a finished draft before it hits the market, to give an honest evaluation of the content). There are many routes open to authors (and believe me I would love to employ a few professionals to give my work a cutting edge) but most of all, writing is something we all enjoy and to be able to see your own book and hold it in your hands is well worth the time and the effort.

To conclude, this was a very enjoyable evening and the people who attended gave excellent feedback for our advice on self-publishing. I’d like to think a few have been inspired by us.

Jill King, Jane Cable, Jeremy Good,  Helen Christmas and Ray Green

Jill King, Jane Cable, Jeremy Good, Helen Christmas and Ray Green

Panel Host: Jill King, author of AITCH A Life in Colour (Biography)
Panel Members:
Jane Cable, author of ‘The Cheesemaker’s House‘ and ‘The Faerie Tree’ (Mystery Suspense)
Jeremy Good, author of ‘The Butcher’s Son‘ (WW2 Thriller)
Ray Green, author of ‘Buyout‘, ‘Payback’ and ‘Chinese Whispers’ (Corporate Thrillers)
Helen Christmas, author of ‘Beginnings,’ ‘Visions’ and ‘Pleasures’ (from the British Thriller Romance series ‘Same Face Different Place’)
Thanks also go out to Chris Casburn (Child author) who helped organise the event, Dan Jones, (author of Hypnotherapy Scripts) and his wife Abbie, who filmed the event and my Husband Peter, who was there to support me.

See the supporting article on our website: www.chindi-authors.co.uk/sell-out-event-at-chichester-library/

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About Helen J. Christmas

I am a budding author and have written the first 3 books of my British series of novels, 'Same Face Different Place. Beginnings is a suspense thriller set in the criminal underworld of 1970s London. The second Book 'Visions' is a psychological thriller, set in Kent - a mystery which ensnares the owners of an historic, English Country House. Book 3 Pleasures contains suspense, thrills and YA romance and the 4th book is being written.
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