Self publish and be damned


I’ve got three mates who have self-published books through Amazon. As they were all published fairly recently (within the past two years) I decided to buy all three to support their hard work in starting and completing such an ambitious project. I am not going to mention the book titles or indeed what I think about the one and a half of the three that I have read. But I do want to share some thoughts.

There are different reasons why somebody might want to write a novel; literary fame, make money, therapeutic endeavour, try something new are the more obvious ones. To have the self-discipline to build a storyline, nurture and publish is in itself a great achievement. And it must be a great feeling to see the book in print with orders coming in from people out there who have heard about it. All this is possible because these days, to publish a book you do not have to go through the tried and trusted route of finding a literary agent who will have another hundred books to read having already discarded thousands of aspiring authors’ works.

So now the market is open to everyone who thinks they are good enough to self publish, which I think is terrific. And yes, some people have become famous from  this method. But whether your novel is self published or through the biggest publishing house in the world, ultimately the only thing that matters is whether people enjoy reading it.

Like art and music, literature is a matter of taste. I don’t like Jeffrey Archer’s work, millions do. I like modern American literature, millions don’t. I’ve read one page of a book lauded by literary critics (I’m actually surprised I got through one page as it was such rubbish) and I have enjoyed authors who are close to being unknown. A case in point is Derek Raymond, a kind of B-list English crime writer. I stumbled on his work by chance in a second-hand bookshop in Norfolk about 10 years ago and I  love his style of writing. It’s interesting that nearly 25 years after his death he has gained the recognition he richly deserved.

So my advice is this; if you have a story to tell, go for it. Sure, you can go on creative writing courses but if you have drive, enthusiasm and creativity I would bypass such courses and just write. You never know where it may lead. And you will surely enjoy the experience.






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