Saturday, May 22, 2010

Self-publishing's on a roll

Having had a go at self-publishing last year (quick plug for A Very Honest Cook, written with Stephen Markwick) I'm intrigued to see how many authors and organisations are taking this route.

Two recent examples: The Bristol Community Cake Book, a good-looking small cookbook produced by The Group of Seven in aid of the Bristol charity one25 and an Australian food and wine matching book In Search of the Perfect Partner (The Food and Wine Matching Formula) by Karyn Macdonald and Cordelia Smiley aka Ryn & Cordie which I've recently reviewed on my website here.

Both are strikingly good looking books with high production values. Both are affordable. I bought The Bristol Community Cake Book from my local Waterstone's which I guess/hope must be waiving their take but Ryn & Cordie's book, like mine is sold direct from their website and supported by a vocal Facebook and Twitter campaign.

As publishers become more and more unwilling to take on authors who are not on TV and more design companies go into producing and packaging books, self-publishing is becoming an increasingly attractive option, particularly if you bypass the middle man as we did.

The fact is that authors get a lousy deal from bookshops who not only take a fair slice of their profits but don't pay for weeks and reserve the right to return any books that they don't sell. Amazon is even worse taking 55/60% of the cover price than slashing the price so that it destroys the market for any direct sales (which is why we resisted their blandishments to have an Amazon listing)

So even though I still have conventional book projects in the pipeline I'm more and more interested in what self-publishing has to offer. What about you?


  1. Fascinating Fiona, I agree that there is huge potential for self-published authors to do well in a market that is difficult at best for authors. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. As the Cookbook Coach, I encourage all my clients to self-publish. For one thing, it is so much faster. Once your manuscript is done, why wait for all the red-tape at the publishing house? Not to mention all the money you will lose. Things are moving fast now, and authors in the know should take advantage of all the internet can offer when marketing your own work.

    Laura Denktash, The Cookbook Coach
    Founder and CEO of the International Association of Cookbook Writers,

  3. Thanks, Laura for that link. I agree - the turnround time is one of the main advantages of self-publishing.

  4. A colleague/ friend of mine at work has self-published a few novels himself. The books are superb - really compelling reading, extremely well edited (no woolly self-indulgent passages), really good. But the problem he faces is marketing them/ getting the word out there.

  5. Great idea.
    I've been working with a fairly new self publishing company,, that has been extremely helpful in getting my book (although not a cookbook)put together and listed online.
    Just a thought...

  6. In my experience you have to put the same amount of effort into promoting your book as you do to writing it, Kavey. But that is progressively easier with the advent of social media like Twitter. Certainly it helps to have a dedicated website for it as Ryn & Cordie have done.

    And thanks for another useful self-publishing link, R Hayes.