Adventures in Self Publishing: Getting Creative | Resources | More Publishing Options

Time to talk about the creative side of self-publishing. Up to now in this slot I’ve been looking at the sales and marketing issues that I have had to deal with. That’s important too. You want to do the best for your book.

But what about the writing side of the self-publisher’s working day? How does that differ from a traditionally published author? The short and smartarse answer to that is I don’t know, because I have not been traditionally published. That said, I’ve talked to enough writers who have. And I am the owner of a well-exercised imagination. So here goes.

You’re the Man. Or the woman, obviously. The best thing about self-publishing is that you are in control. It’s also the worst.I have a variety of writing and broadcasting gigs (newspaper columnist, TV and radio commentator, copywriting). They take priority over my novel because it’s fair to say that if I was relying on my novel to pay the bills, I’d be on the run from my creditors. This novel-neglect results in a low-level nagging anxiety that I should be doing more for the book. It would be nice to think this anxiety would force me out of bed earlier so I could notch up another 500 words before the real work begins. But not as nice as turning over in bed at 6 am for another hour of kip; particularly now that we have two kids under two. Here’s the rub. The lack of a deadline and cranky editor means you can take a day or a month off writing to focus on other things like earning a living or watching the World Cup. It also means you have to live with a nagging feeling that you are not giving it your all. Don’t worry, you get used to it after a while.

Is there anybody out there? Writing is a lonely business. Yes you can go off to a writer’s retreat or plonk yourself down in a public library. But really, if it isn’t just you and a blinking cursor, then it isn’t writing and you’ll never reach the end. Traditional publishers have the sense of being part of a team; I envy them for that. I met a well-known Irish author on a TV show once who arrived in RTE with a minder from her publisher. I wouldn’t mind a bit of that! Self-publishing is a bit like going on holidays on your own. It’s great that you can decide what to do when it suits. But it would be nice to have someone to talk to in evenings. Not to worry. Sometimes it feels like the internet was invented just to make the world a better place for self-publishers. I’m in regular contact with a variety of writers and publishers through twitter and my blog. I couldn’t do without their tips and shouts of encouragement. Social media is a key tool when it comes to selling your book. It’s an even better way to build a virtual team of like-minded loners. Make sure to use it for that. Because we all need somebody.

Be afraid. I’ve been writing full-time now for nearly a decade. And still I get that same shot of nerves every time I press send on my latest article. Is it any good? Will the editor like it? Are my jokes about as funny as chicken pox? That’s how I feel for a 1000 word article. So you can imagine how I feel with a 70,000 word novel. (It’s not quite 70 times worse, but it’s close enough.) I showed the first draft of my novel Keep Away from those Ferraris to my wife and a couple of close friends. They were constructive and supportive and in one case, brutally honest. The result was a much improved second draft. So I’ll be using them as alpha readers for the first draft of the sequel later in the year. I can already feel myself being more careful about how and what I write, now that I know my self-appointed editors have a brutal streak. I reckon this will noticeably shorten the time I need for a second draft. My advice? You need to show the book to someone with a penchant for telling it like it is. Criticism hurts, but the fear of it will keep you on your literary toes as you go along. In short, be afraid.

And finally. A quick update on my sales since I launched Keep Away from those Ferraris. I have sold 207 units, with royalties of around €225. So I’m still about €1270 in the red when I take expenses (editor, cover designer and promotions) into account. It’s lucky I didn’t get into writing with the aim of buying myself a super yacht. Or any kind of yacht really.

(c) Pat Fitzpatrick

Check out Pat’s previous articles here:

Adventures in Self Publishing: Self Publishing is a lot like dieting.

Adventures in Self Publishing 2

Adventures in Self Publishing 3: Revenues and Pricing

Adventures in Self Publishing 4: The Cost

Adventures in Self Publishing: 6 Months On

About the author

Pat Fitzpatrick lives in Cork city. After 19 years working in the I.T. industry he decided to jump ship in 2008 and head for the lucrative world of writing. So don’t hire him as a life coach, investment advisor or anything to do with your career. His Sunday Independent newspaper columns plus TV and radio appearances have been entertaining Irish people through some tough times. You might have seen him recently with Maura Derrane and Daithí O’Sé on the RTE Today show, where he relayed the highs and lows of writing in advance of that show’s novel writing competition. He hopes to release a sequel to Keep Away from those Ferraris in November 2014.

You can read more on his adventures in self-publishing here

Pat can be found @Pdfitzpatrick on twitter and you can follow him at if Facebook is your thing.

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