Posts Tagged ‘publishing’

Writers, Publishers and DIY Publishing

August 11, 2008

It is a well known fact that there are far more writers — good, bad and indifferent — than traditional publishers can even contemplate selecting from by glancing at their submissions. So most publishers work through agents and rely on them to produce the writers suitable for their particular list of titles. So agents filter through the thousands of submissions they get inundated with, that is IF they are accepting submissions from unknown authors. If they are, then it is likely only one or two new writers will be taken on in a year. Thousands of manuscripts but which one or two will be chosen? It stands to reason that many excellent authors are turned down year on year. A few writers make it through the self-publishing route. It takes money, hard work, dedication, good promotional and marketing skills and maybe friends in the right places to get anywhere. If books are sold in the right numbers a known publisher may well take over the title. It seems to me that the chances of ‘making it’ are getting more and more remote.
Frankly, most bookshops don’t ‘want to know.’ If the book has a lot of appeal and is already being ‘asked for’ then the book might do well, at least locally. (As did my ‘When Phones Were Immobile and Lived in Red Boxes’ — out of a 750 run, 600 were sold locally.) But national booksellers go through the national office. Our local W.H.Smith’s manager was interested in stocking two of my books but the head office did not even reply to the letter I was asked to send in!
Okay, our book will appear on Amazon and a dozen other bookstores may also advertise it on their website — yes, along with thousands of others! They don’t have to stock or buy the book to advertise it.
I know of authors who travel all over the country trying to flog books one way or another, some with a modicum of success. Is it worth it? Well, you have to believe in your book, and yourself, to pay in time and money for what is involved. With cheap books for sale everywhere, it is hard to compete. How many unknown author books do YOU buy, and how much would YOU pay for them?
When we take the self-publishing route it is as well to have all this in mind. If services are being paid for, you may not get a penny back and that could run into thousands. If you are doing your own publishing (complete with ISBN and bar code) you can get books printed in smallish numbers and, if your book does not sell, all you will end up with is a box of books to give to friends or offer to libraries. At least your ‘baby’ has been born and smiling for all to see!
If I recall correctly, Michael Allen of Grumpy Old Bookman fame, once wrote that the average sales for a self published POD book were 80 copies. He also has a great deal of advice to give about the whole subject and of DIY publishing through LULU in particular.
Before starting on your publishing project it might help if you first visited:


April 3, 2008

I had a pingback drop into my Inbox this morning: It was posted there by : 

I’m not into all this pinging and ponging. I find it rather confusing. BUT, reading again what Michael Allen put in (what I think might have been his last) posting, put a somewhat ironic smile on my face.

Now I consider Allen to be a jolly good writer who ran an excellent literary blog, which was of great benefit to writers, especially unrecognised ones like yours truly. He is sadly missed.

It seems every time I appear to be making a tiny progress my props fall away and I’m back in the mud of obscurity. Indeed my latest book, Awakening Love was to be the book that would mark me out as a writer of Women’s Fiction, even if in moderate terms. But how to interest a publisher?

Howbeit, I do have a contract with a USA E-Book publisher for that book and for its sequel (Seduction By Design), which I hope will reach fruition later this year. That could be a start, for it is certain the few books I published myself will not spark off a glimmer of recognition. I have neither the time nor the energy, to say nothing of the money involved, to promote and market my books.

So back to pings. What put that smile (however ironic it may have been) on my face? Well, it was what Michael Allen wrote about me: “Gladys, if you haven’t discovered her, is one hell of a writer.” Followed by a reference to my Blazing Embers (Angela Ashley) and how I had written ‘beautifully’ about a ‘gran in search of an orgasm.’  He also considered Awakening Love to be of a “high standard.”

So here I am a “hell of a writer” according to Allen (and also prize-winner Andrew F O’Hara plus others who think highly of my scribblings) but still unrecognised.

But maybe the sun will yet shine! AG Press (USA), is publishing two of my books (in my own name this time) When Angels Lie and Blazing Embers. Oh yes, small publisher maybe, BUT great oaks from tiny acorns grow. The books are been revised and will have new covers. They are being given a second chance in the USA.

I have, at last, finished writing and editing (for the umpteenth time) Checkmate. What to do with it? Well, it is a sequel to Seduction. And just maybe… 

Writing seems to be a game of ping-pong. Back and forth, appraise and revise, edit and proofread. Submit and reject! But not any more. No more new submissions to agents and publishers. Enough is enough.  “One hell of a writer?” I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry! 


What’s novel about a novel?

February 28, 2008

Apparently, according to the book buying public, very little!  Since I am doing second editions of Blazing Embers and When Angels Lie, wanting to shift the first editions, I took samples down to a market stall this morning.  The stall-holder simply said he would not be able to sell them. “They only buy novels.”  “These are novels,” I told him, “and they have good reviews. Second editions are being printed shortly. You can have them very cheap and they are signed.”   “I couldn’t sell them. They only want Cookson and all the popular ones like you see here.”   A glance at the many book covers told me that they were all second-hand ‘bargain basement’ soft-covers of the ones often sold NEW for 3 for a fiver!  I have an idea the customers take back ones they have read and get another for a smallish charge.  Hence, his stock is constantly replenished and he has no books to buy.  So I took my books over to the Oxfam shop where they have an excellent well laid-out book section — the whole of the ground floor. They usually sell them pretty quick there. I was pleased to see they only had one book left of the four I took on Saturday. So I went home smiling! I guess at that place my books are novel compared with the mass-market paperbacks! 

Lit Agency says no as my book is being published!

October 2, 2007

My Awakening Love was turned down by the Christopher Little Lit Agency today. Just as well I did not dally for two months while it sat in the slush pile. I guess it is a measure of my expectations that I did not wait but got on with its publication. Oh well, the first few chapters will shortly be available for a free read on my publishing site:
Folk can judge for themselves its potential. (Mind you, the first chapters are pretty cool compared to the heat of later on.)
Of course, the real test is IF folk buy the book — even if just a few buyers. (Without publicity/marketing can’t expect more.) We shall see. (Personally, I can’t see folk buying it from the Internet but at £9.99 free delivery, maybe, just maybe.) I will be happy if I get just a local response.

There is a novel in my head about a struggling writer! I’ve had plenty of material building up these past six or seven years. This ‘poor baby’ has had a really hard struggle to come to birth! But that is a major chapter yet to be written.

Written five years ago. The book has a long history. This and others have been taken over by Turquoise Morning Press

After the party — this and that

September 24, 2007

Well, my husband’s party went along great! Everyone got along, quizzes were hard fought, gags laughed at, speeches appreciated, food ate with alacrity, and everyone went home happy. To top it all my husband thanked me for a lovely party! What more could anyone want?

I’m still waiting to hear about my book being printed. No point in rushing it — what’s an extra week or so after six months of preparation (and that after six years of fiddling with it since it was first written!

Gladys Hobson

Magpies Nest Publishing.

I looked through Andrew O’Hara’s book, The Swan, tales of the Sacrimento Valley, again today to get an overall picture. I guess some folk would be disappointed because some of the endings are somewhat ambiguous, or not exactly ‘happy’! But they speak of life as it is, and let’s face it, life does not come in neat packages tied up with fancy ribbon!
What was special to me was the fact that we have visited that area and it brought back thoughts and feelings of the time we spent in that part of California. Our fortnight visit to the USA included my brother and his wife in San Diego (their son lives nearby but their daughter lives in Davis). Sadly, my brother died a couple of months ago, so he was not at our party last Saturday, but memories of our mutual affection and pleasant visits are ever present.

What now? Send copies of my novels for entry of the London Book Festival? Well, I have sent an e-mail asking about the box that has to be filled in called “editor’. Do all books have to be ‘edited’ by a ‘qualified’ editor — someone known to them? All my novels have been professionally appraised twice (the second time after suggested alterations or corrections) and proofread. does that qualify as edited? We shall see.
Whether to enter just one book or all three? Mmm — will USA readers appreciate my style anyway? I guess for a book to be successful it must appeal to most English speaking folk. Who knows, maybe their readers will appreciate my writing. Those who read through the slush piles here in the UK are not exactly dazzled by my ability!

(Update – My Awakening Love came in the first five, Romance genre)

One door closes – another opens?

September 1, 2007

It always gives me a sinking feeling when someone, ‘in charge’ of a shop or store, hands back Northern Lights (or another of my publications) and says they don’t want it. I feel the rejection far too personally. It is even more embarrassing if it is someone I know. But more than embarrassing are the dashed hopes of selling copies of the book. It is good to know that some individuals, working in various places, like the book and WANT to sell it, even if top management says no! I have not heard from W.H.S’s top office and don’t expect to now. Pity, the local store seemed quite keen. The manager of the store that sold about 80 copies of Red Boxes, did not want it either. (Well, they don’t normally sell books and Red Boxes was being sold for charity). I am still a little hopeful of selling some books through Hills, BUT will not hold my breath. Of course, if I had to reorder just for a few, with the huge discounts wanted, I would be out of pocket anyway BUT one has to speculate to get established.

If you don’t read the Grumpy Old Bookman website, you don’t know what you are missing. You can get a realistic view of chances of publication and of alternatives. So many good and interesting things to read of what is happening in the book world. Occasionally, publishers are mentioned that are open to submissions – for example Tindal Street Press
They only publish regional books. I have an idea they get a grant to do so. But others get a mention. Plus latest releases, book reviews etc etc. It also mentioned Cinnamon Teal printing and publishing. For someone who wants to self-publish they do a jolly good deal.

The September edition of the THE JIMSTON JOURNAL is now out. My story is there and I am so very pleased with the way it is presented. Incredible the time and effort put into that ‘on line’ free journal. I feel quite proud to have my work included. Who knows where it might lead?

This was published five years ago, see more recent posts and my other blogs —

My author blog and Magpies Nest Publishing. More recently my novels have been published by Dare Empire BUT four of my novels have been taken over by Turquoise Morning Press and The Dark Mirror by Storm Moon Press