Hennessy Awards

The business of self-publishing: Bookshop launches

Self-publishing is becoming a viable and accepted method for writers to either bring out a book that is hard for publishers to define, for traditionally published writers to relaunch old out of print titles electronically or through print on demand, for writers to supplement their traditional titles or fund their writing on the path to traditional publication, to write and publish creative, experimental and artistic work that may have a more niche following. To be commended and recommended, self-published work needs to be of high quality and the self-publisher needs to apply the principles of professionalism and good business.

In this weeks article on writing.ie The Business of Self-Publishing, I talk about how to make self-publishing work, through strong products, marketing savvy, funding initatives and more. Take a look at the full article here.

I recently launched the paperback of Housewife with a Half-Life in a bookshop. There are pros and cons for the self-publisher in taking on a Bookshop launch but overall I feel that it’s benefits outweighed any drawbacks. I recently wrote an article exploring the merits of a bookshop launch.

To Launch or Not to Launch: A second opinion

When invited to hold a bookshop launch for my debut self-published book Housewife with a Half-Life in a local store, I thought about the pros and cons. I’m here to say why, on balance, that while there are many arguments against a bookshop launch for the self-publisher, I’m glad that I went ahead.

First, the facts in black and white:

Having a bookshop launch is exhausting.

These are some of the tasks that need to be done ahead of time:

Organise books: While CreateSpace, the POD company I used, have many distribution channels, the Irish ones are not included in this. So it was necessary to send off (and pay for) a consignment of books upfront and then organise to get them to the bookshop.

Arrange publicity: I created a press release and emailed as many of the local papers, radio stations etc as I could. I also sent a copy of the book out to selected media people. I invited people through text, email and social media. This was a big job. I also organised a speaker, some refreshments etc.

These activities were all done in tandem with an online launch and blog tour marketing and publicity were all encompassing.

This article is guest posted on Catherine Ryan Howard’s blog. For the rest of the article, click here.

I’d appreciate your thoughts and experiences on your self-publishing journey and if you’ve done a ‘real-life’ book launch whether or not you found it useful.

In the meantime I’m bringing out several mini-collections of my short stories, some of which were shortlisted in prizes such as the Bridport, Fish and Hennessy New Irish Writing XO awards. Here’s what I’ve released so far. I’ll let you know how this venture goes.

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Why I write.

What has been wonderful in the last few days is getting feedback from my published story Bog Body. Although I’ve had a couple of stories published in magazines before, this was the first time that – thanks to modern technology – I was able to receive feedback not only from friends and acquaintances but also those in the general population that had found the link to my story.

This has been said before, but writing is a solitary occupation and the circumstances of being a stay at home mum mean that I circulate more in the private than public domain.  Having had this publication has helped me get ‘out there’ (see the use of that phrase in the Bog Body story – with its themes of constraint and stagnation).  The comments I received were wonderful, the general impression was that people could really feel themselves in the story, it resonated with them. Here are some thoughts I had jotted down recently about writing. 

‘Being a writer is like digging, turning over the soil of life and revealing, unearthing and making ready the ingredients of adventure.

Sends shivers. Done right, writing connects to the shaft of light reaching between the soul and everyday, illuminates the world with it, directs and diffuses the beam into the readers life.  

That one moment, that butterfly wing, that blink, that swallow, that turn of the head, that fall of a petal, that lift of breeze catching the hair, that tipping point, that second that everything changes. That held breath. When I write I want you to hold your breath, jump into the story, drown in it, feel something, a flicker, some resonance that reverberates in the back of your brain now and maybe later unexpectedly, fusing your experience of life with mine and humankind in general.’

At least with this story I have been assured that I may in some way have achieved this connection that is absolutely the reason I write.

Link to ‘Bog Body’ by Alison Wells  http://www.tribune.ie/arts/article/2009/aug/02/bog-body/
Interesting article by Anne Enright on her personal experience of whether or not someone can be taught to write: