Tuesday, November 13, 2012

On thinking about self-publishing

I write. A lot.

As well as blogging, I write policy, standards and professional documents as a contractor; I write articles for journals and magazines, and some of them even get published. I've written two complete middle-grade children's novels, for which I will seek a publisher one day, if I ever get up the courage to do it. I am halfway-ish through a future-dystopia-adventure story for young adults, which is coming along nicely.

I also write poetry. Some of it very bad, some of it very derivative - but some of it, just a little of it, ringing true to me, finding the voice I want to find to express the things I can't express in narrative prose.

I have written quite a large body of poetry over the past ten years. A lot of it will deservedly never see the light of day, and some of it, published here, need not be revisited. I have, though, about 50 pages of poems that I would like to collect, for my family mostly, and present as a coherent body of creative work.

So, because the poetry of the unpublished middle-aged housewife is not a massive buying sector for publishing houses, I am toying with the idea of self-publishing my poems rather than trying to shop it as an actual book.

I was thinking of doing a simple b&w layout with a cover from one of my Dad's artworks, standard paperback size, no internal colour, 80gsm stock, saddle stitched and standard paperback covers (plus an ebook version, naturally, these days :-) I have some book layout experience and all the professional tools, and given it's not a design heavy project, I think I could do it myself.

I thought I might get 100 printed, because I have at least 50 family and friends who I can rely on to pity-buy a copy, and I want a few to keep or pass around, or even sell if the interest is there.

Based on quotes I've received, if I sell it at $10 or so, it would be cost-neutral for me once I sell 80 of the 100, and low-cost once I've sold 50. So it's not a big expense to contemplate, and, thanks to lots of work this year, I can take the cash-flow hit of paying for the printing up front.

So what do you think? Am I mad? Or stupid? Or deluded? (You may select any or all of the above!)

This is post 13 in NaBloPoMo. 13 down, 17 to go!


  1. interesting project to start!

    I think its a great idea..

    #teamIBOT :)

  2. I think it's a great idea. Otherwise you may just never do it. Just do it!

    I could also be a sponsor for Nike. lol

  3. Brilliant idea you should definitely go ahead and do it.
    Fairy wishes and butterfly kisses lovely

  4. Go for it! Better to do it than wonder in the future if it would have worked. I'm sure your friends and family would love it!

  5. Life is too short to hold back. If you think you can break even, then why not? Worst case scenario is that you lose a little money but have some beautifully printed copies of your work. Best case scenario is that they sell like hotcakes, people love it, and you're on your way.
    Worth the risk if you ask me.
    Good luck x

  6. Go for it, it's a great idea and you'll learn a heap from the process.

  7. Yes do it. I'm looking at self publishing but I need to get covers deigned, illustrations as well as book layout done. I'm looking at needing to sell 500 copies a year for 4 years to break even at this stage.