Self Published Sunday: So Now Everybody Is An Author?

At 24, Ben Galley is a young author from sunny England, and a writer of fantasy and tall tales. Author of the epic and dark Emaneska Series, he has two books to his name, and there is soon to be a third. He’s passionate about sharing his knowledge and know-how with other hopeful authors, and is keen to help them turn their passion into their profession. Ben regularly tours the country signing books, pestering bookshops, and searching for dragons. He is a regular speaker, and blogger on everything fantasy and Self-Publishing, and has just launched a Self-Publishing, Writing, and Marketing site called SHELF HElP.
We’re living in an amazing time. A time of explosive change and great leaps of technology. A time where anybody can publish anything within minutes, and sell it to the world at the click of a button. A time of self-publishing. A time of opportunity.

But is that true? That anybody can self-publish a book in minutes and make it available to the world? Yes indeed. 100%. Absolutely. Without a doubt. All you need is a book, a little know-how, and the drive to push yourself.

Self-publishing may not be a new concept – after all Mark Twain was self-published, and so was Edgar Allen Poe, Virginia Woolf, Alexander Dumas, Benjamin Franklin, and Rudyard Kipling… the list goes on. But until now, we haven’t had the infrastructure and the technology to facilitate the affordable, simple, quality, and fast self-publishing that we have today, and it’s turned the industry on its head.

In 2009 alone, 76% of all books were self-published. That’s an incredible statistic. Lulu, one of the big three POD companies, report that they publish something like 20,000 new titles a month. Never before in history has there been so many books and so many authors writing them. I think it’s safe to say that we authors have joined the fray en masse!

But because of this, we self-published authors are now experiencing a new challenge. The problem is this: with self-publishing being so easy, the market has now been flooded with authors, bringing both good and bad books with them. Everybody seems to be an author these days. The new challenge is not the publishing of our books, but rather making them, and us along with them, stand out from the others. We still live in an amazing time, it’s just a rather noisy one.

There are several things that I believe you can do to make sure you stand out of the crowd, and to set yourself above this flood:

Aim for quality:
The main complaint from the industry at the moment is the average quality of self-published books. Due to the ease and speed of the process, many authors feel like they don’t need to make the effort, and often publish without having edited, proofread, or even sourced a decent cover. The sheer number of these poor books can make life hard for us, but what we can do is stand out by aiming high. We need to make sure our books are of the highest quality, and comparable with the books of the traditional houses. This means getting a professional cover made, and making sure your book is error-free and edited to its utmost! Easiness is not an excuse for laziness.

Get physical:
Some people confuse self-publishing with simple e-publishing, ie: simply publishing ebooks and them alone. Well, you don’t have to stop there. Thanks once again to the wonder of technology, we now have the ability to print quality books and distribute them all over the world with a bit of formatting and the click of a mouse. Having this extra string to your bow not only helps you stand apart from the e-publishing horde, but also provides another revenue stream too!

Build a friend base:
Those of you who are already on Twitter and Facebook might have seen them. The authors and writers who incessantly tweet links to their books and nothing else? Yes, them. Personally, I find it irritating and boring, and marketing deserves a little more though than just clogging up Twitter feeds with links to books. I’m keen to push the idea of the friendbase; like a fanbase, but more personal, engaging, and interesting. People are more responsive if you speak to them on a personal level, as you would if you met them at a book fair, or in the street. Be interested in them first, and they will in turn by curious about you, and therefore more likely to invest their time, money, and pass the message on. Good rule of thumb here is to speak to ten new people a day on Twitter of Facebook, be it a retweet, a like, or a reply, simply get engaging.

Get sharing:
Despite the relative ease of self-publishing, it can be somewhat tough going it alone. One of the best things about self-publishing, however, is that we’re all very eager to share and to grow. By forging links with other, similar authors you can grow together by sharing eachother’s blogs and books to your respective friendbases. That way, both parties win and your fans will also be richer for it. As the old saying goes – united we stand, divided we fall.

Be creative:
This new self-publishing boom is nothing if not open to change. With the sudden influx of new authors and new technology, the industry is still trying to find its new feet. What this means for us new authors is the chance to find marketing niches that others may not have found yet. This could be anything from new technology, new companies, new mediums, anything. It’s the gift of such an amazing time. Find these niches, and exploit them! Above all, standing out takes a bit of hard work and some determination. It’s a noisy world out there. All you have to do is shout louder and longer.

Good luck.
Post by Ben Galley
You can find Ben lurking on several social media sites. It’s wise not to encourage him.
Twitter: @BenGalley
Facebook: Ben Galley Author
Websites: www.bengalley.com and Shelf Help

Emaneska is crying out for a saviour
The only question is: Can they kill a child to save a world?
Emaneska’s Long Winter remains as bitter as a blade between the ribs. War is fast approaching. Gods and daemons are hovering on the horizon. Long-lost revelations arrive to haunt the lives of three men.
The Pale Kings are rising.
While Farden busies himself digging up his past in the strange deserts of Paraia, the storm-clouds begin to gather for Durnus, Elessi, Cheska, and Modren.
Together with Farfallen and his Sirens, they must fight to survive against the Long Winter, the vicious machinations of the new Arkmage, and the arrival of something much deadlier than both combined. War, deception, and murder are quickly becoming the only paths to salvation…

The first two books in Ben’s Emenska Series The Written and Pale Kings are available to buy from amazon.

Read our interview with Ben here!

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2 Responses

  1. Helen says:

    Just wondering if you think all the above applies to children’s/picture books etc. I guess so, you give us alot to think about.

  2. Pruedence says:

    I couldn’t agree more! With everything!!! But then again everyone is entitled to try and we can only hope that truly those that have written something good and special will shine through. I guess you do have to shout the loudest and the longest to be heard in a sea of cries.

Leave a Reply to Helen