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Self-publishing should not equal dross

I read a lot. IBS means that I can get through a fair number of books. Recently I bought a Kindle, as I was running out of space for my ‘real’books, and hated having to throw them out. Being a bit of a tight-wad, I immediately went to the free section on Amazon and downloaded a number of titles that caught my eye, as well as a couple that weren’t full price.

Aside from wanting a number of books that I could read whilst cursing Tunisians and their cooking, I also wanted to see what sort of competition I faced. I’m an author too. The first book I wrote arose out of a misunderstanding. I used to write for the four biggest martial arts magazines in the UK. Through that I managed to meet a number or people in the publishing industry. One of them liked my writing and my approach to life so asked me to submit a proposal.

I duly did so and sent it in. Long tory short, he left the company so I got a reply from his replacement thanking me for contacting them for a self-publishing deal, but that we’re no longer doing this, and that they’d be happy to distribute my books.

So, from being approached by a company to write for them I know faced a bit of a dilemma. I’d only gone and told the world that if been approached and asked to write for the most prestigious martial arts publishing house at that time.

With a heartfelt sigh, and some of my wife’s redundancy money, I spent the next year writing the book, taking the photos, editing the photos, paying for the book to be edited and type-set, and then paying for it to be printed. The end result is a very good book indeed, “Practical Taekwondo: Back to the Roots” and has sold the world over with no advertising bar forum posts and word of mouth. Compared to some ‘real’ books, it beats them hand down, and beats a number of other self-published books as well.

Knowing the costs involved in self-publishing, and also knowing the dross that can hide a good book, I decided that if I couldn’t get a deal for my first Steam Fantasy novel, that I would self-publish on Kindle.

Unfortunately it seems that whilst there a people out there who can write a good story, that they haven’t bothered to look beyond the writing of the story andre a little thought into the Production of the story.

By this I mean that to me, it looks like they haven’t bothered to run there wrok through a spell check or grammar checker (see what I did there?). This is a crass lack of patience or, even worse, an indication that they just want to start making money from their story as quickly as possible and that because they’re only charging a few cents or pence, it doesn’t matter if in some places it don’t Read good.

My Steamfantasy has already been edited by John Jarrold. I wrote the book, got all excited, and thought that I had a finished piece of work that would go straight to press. Mr Jarrold’s editing put me firmly I my place, and I am now about halfway through editing and rewriting as he suggested. I had to take a couple of months away for the book before I did this because I knew that I was too close. I knew what I meant, what the characters were thinking and what the universe was about. As a result I knew that I would be blind to any mistakes or assumptions on my behalf.

I also paid to have the book edited because John represents Stephen Hunt, an author that I like and respect. If John is good for him, then he’s good enough for me. Regardless as to whether I got my book published by a real company, I didn’t want to have a piece of work that wasn’t up to the standards of a real publishing company. So, by the of the editing process, I will have a finished piece of work that shows I not only care about the Shattered Lands universe, but that I also care about giving any readers I have a book that is as perfect. I can make it. I just wish that others woud do the same as my fear is that my good book will be lost amongst the ever-increasing pile of dross out there.

About mattsylvester

Father of two beautiful daughters and married to the beautiful Karen, Matthew has been reading and writing fantasy and science fiction since he first read the Hobbit at the age of 7.


3 thoughts on “Self-publishing should not equal dross

  1. Reblogged this on Alternative Realities.


    Posted by mattsylvester | June 3, 2012, 10:00 pm
  2. Well done. Nice to hear the inner workings.


    Posted by GinShakespear | June 17, 2012, 2:54 am

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