Why I Self-Published

In this post I’ll explain my reasons for self-publishing. It’s all about odds really.  The chances of a debut novelist finding a traditional publisher, unless he or she is already a celebrity (in any field) are very low indeed. The traditional route to having fiction published is first to find a literary agent who in turn will find, and negotiate with, a publisher.  Agents claim to receive two or three hundred manuscripts a week; of course it’s in their interest to talk up these numbers, so the actual figure may be a bit lower. Most agents will take on three or four new authors a year.  So the odds of being taken on by an agent is less than one in a thousand. Of course if your novel is really marketable the odds are more in your favour but they’re still pretty slim.

Nevertheless I still tried finding an agent. I sent the first 3 chapters of my manuscript to about a dozen agents specializing in thrillers.  I picked a mix of large, medium and small agencies. With the smaller agencies I made sure they had a good track record; I didn’t want to have to commit to an inexperienced agent who might take me on then spend a year or two and not find me a publisher at the end of it all. The rejections came as no surprise to me. I felt I had given finding a literary agent a shot and it was time to look at alternatives.

In the past it was very difficult to sell more than a few hundred books by self publishing. But with the advent of print on demand technology, on-line retailing and especially ebooks, it is possible to generate reasonable sales by means of self publishing.  I still wanted some of the services an agent provides such as editing, copyediting, proofreading and jacket design.  Rather than buy-in each of these services individually I decided to use a self-publishing company.

I picked Acorn Independent Press, a self publishing company that only started up at the beginning of 2011.  I picked them because of the personal service you tend to get with a start-up and because they are based in Crystal Palace, a London suburb not far from my home.

That’s all for this post. In my next post I hope to have an interview with London author Terry Jenkins.

Happy New Year.

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