Where’s the Risk?

Self-published author

Surprise yourself and read a self-published author (eBook Friendly)

My book, Master of Illusion, shared ebook friendly’s photo on Facebook telling readers to surprise themselves and read a self-published book. Master of Illusion is like that: he sometimes takes his own initiative when it comes to his Facebook page.

But it set me wondering: Why do readers feel it is such a risk to read a self-published book?

Before I self-published, I researched the opinions of many self-publishers and readers.

So, if the risks for the reader are:

  1. That you will spend less than the price of a cup of coffee on an ebook.

  2. That you may become intensely irritated by grammatical errors and/or poor expression.

  3. The characters may be stilted and one dimensional.

  4. The story might be boring; or the end leave you unsatisfied and feeling you have wasted precious hours of your time.

Then the answer is twofold:

a). Choose self-published books that have been professionally edited. All of the above will have been taken care of, and

b). Reading the free PDF download of 10 – 20% on the author website will give you a good idea if it is your sort of book. And if you must, must read on, well and good.

For the self-publisher, on the other hand, the risks can be daunting, both in time, investment and sending you out of your comfort zone. Basically, you put your money where your mouth is (or your pen).

Not only that, but you must take charge of the whole publishing process, doing all the hundred-and-one things a conventional publishing company does for its author, including publicity.

And the greatest risk of all – that your beloved baby you have laboured over for so long will be torn to pieces when it goes out into the world. Or worse, ignored.

But for the author/publisher there is also the unparalleled joy of doing something you love. It is amazingly fulfilling.

Nothing compares with:

  • the excitement of seeing your book for the first time on the shelves of Amazon, Smashwords and all the other platforms available to ebook authors.

  • the privilege you feel when someone has taken the time to read your book and the humble delight when they say they loved it. That is so special.

  • the sheer indescribable ecstasy of receiving a 5 out of 5 star review from someone in a country across the globe; and watching your book rise in the International ebook authors top ten, pinching yourself to make sure it’s real!

For me, as a self-published author, all the above and the fun of forming my own business StoneHut Publishing, was worth the risk, whatever the outcome. (We breast cancer survivors don’t have time to wait twenty years for a publisher to notice us: we just want to get on with it.)

Matthew Reilly took the risk and self-published his first book Contest. His millions of readers are glad that he did. And he is one of the most positive people I have ever met.

So go on, read a self-published book. What’s the risk? You might actually enjoy it – and have your coffee too.

From Closet Writer to (Self-)Published Author

My secret dream has finally come true! And I only half believe it.

For years, I scribbled away, feeling guilty when I took time out for my hobby; hiding my work from others. But it’s not a hobby, it’s a passion; a compulsion. When I sit down with a pen something takes me over and a whole morning can go by before I surface.

I find myself getting up at night, or jotting on odd scraps of paper because inspiration strikes at odd times. If this sounds familiar, I believe it is a common symptom shared by writers.

One day, I looked around at my piles of manuscripts and decided to see if I could make ‘my obsession my profession’.

I joined a fledgling writers’ group. One of the members read my work and we went to a workshop at NEWC, ‘Mind Your Business’ with Dr Jeremy Fisher. I picked up on some gems of advice: Get a website, show you’re prepared to engage with readers and promote your work; go to writers’ festivals; meet people in the business.

An author talk by Matthew Reilly held me riveted. Here was a man radiating positive energy. It is clear that he loves his work: A man living his dream.

The main thing I took away with me: He believes in himself. None of his wonderful achievements would have happened had he not self-published his first book.

I resolved then and there not to let self-doubt stand in the way of my dream.

Publishing is a business, whether self or otherwise. It is important for self-published authors to have their work professionally edited. You may be grateful you’ve spent the time and money. Editors pay close attention to details that could come back to haunt you.

By an amazing set of circumstances, I found a web designer who was not only a talented and intuitive designer, but an editor and marketing analyst as well. When she suggested I put my novel out as an ebook while I tried to find a publisher, something clicked in my head and I bolted with it.

Forget finding a publisher, I’ll do it, myself. The idea took me over. I read Authorpreneurship by Hazel Edwards – several times, marking the pages. It contains invaluable advice, demanding honest evaluation. I researched blogs of self-published authors, borrowed books from the library.

One of these sounded great: positive and chatty. I went to her website. There had been one post since 2007. I clicked on ‘Comment’ and was taken to another person’s website offering to sell me information!

Rest assured if there is anything I have learned or will learn about self-publishing it will be available for others right here – for free. You only have to ask.

I moved quickly, using my ABN to register a business name and get started.

There were many daunting moments: no domain available in my name; agonising over a nom-de-plume; applying for an ISBN; registering for CiP; and then the big one that almost stopped me in my tracks: I had to have a US tax ID to sell my book on Amazon.

Here, the asa (Australian Society of Authors) was wonderful, organising a US tax seminar at just the right time for me. I met published authors, including the kind and generous Susanne Gervay, who took me under her wing, introduced me to her friends and generally made me feel comfortable. A few days later, success! I had my EIN.

Towards the end of the publishing process, I realised that writing Master of Illusion was the easy part. I fell in love with my characters, let them call the shots and went on a fascinating ride, never knowing what was just around the corner. I loved every minute of it.

There are many people I have to thank for help along this journey. You know who you are and how much I love and appreciate you. All of you.

So what happens now that StoneHut Publishing has run down the slipway and is heading into uncharted waters with the author at the helm? Will it be fair wind and plain sailing from here? Or are there hidden rocks and shoals out there? Monsters of the deep? Waiting …

Watch this space!