07 Apr Changing Perceptions of Self-Publishing
What is self-publishing? In 2016, it may not be what you thought.
At Captain Honey, we are helping to change perceptions. And that’s why we are so excited to be partnering with the Byron Writer’s Festival as sponsors of the self-publishing marquee this year. (For details on how to get involved, skip to the end of this blog post).
When we started our company in 2013, we were fresh out the doors of HarperCollins in Sydney, the big end of town when it comes to book publishing. We were bright-eyed and bushy-tailed about applying those same standards of excellence to self-publishing.
We attacked it with gusto, publishing our first book, The 50 Book, to great acclaim later that year. We’ve now sold over 5000 copies of that book via the book trade, gift trade, online retail and our own websites.
Then we started to help authors make their books, and their websites, and plan their book launches, sales and promotional strategies, and so much else besides.
People often asked me as a traditional book publisher ‘What exactly is it that you do’? Well, I went to a lot of meetings. And I talked to a lot of authors. It’s only now I work with self-publishers that I really understand what I do. I help them to plan, create and publish their books. Sometimes that means we have coffee and talk about what it is they are trying to achieve, why they are going down this path. Other times, I negotiate with a printer on their behalf, or put together a sales and marketing plan or a book costing. Or I might send their page proofs out to a proofreader or organise an index for their book. That’s it: I’m being their publisher except they, rather than HarperCollins, are paying me. Does that fundamentally discredit them as an author? The answer, of course, is No.
Over the past three years, I’ve asked a lot of authors why they are self-publishing. Only a handful has said it’s because they “Couldn’t get accepted by a traditional publisher”. It took me a while to understand this – to grasp that traditional publishing is not necessarily considered a panacea. It’s just not right for some authors – those who have a direct connection with their audience, for example. Or those who want to be in control. Some people can’t wait. Others don’t need to because they can afford to do it themselves. It’s dangerous, liberating and, most of all, fascinating out there!
And then there’s book formats. I thought I knew all there was to know about that. But I didn’t know the half of it. I did not understand the power and opportunity being afforded to self-published authors by ebook and print-on-demand formats and the distribution and marketing channels that support them. Now I get it.
So my world has expanded exponentially after just three years helping self-publishers publish and I’m pretty excited about what the future holds for Captain Honey and our authors past, present and future.
Our authors are at the vanguard of publishing, and their task is significant: not just to create a book worthy of publication, but to promote, market, publicise and sell it too. We know how hard it is because we do it too.
While we provide our expertise day-to-day to support authors in this undertaking, recognition by events like the Byron Writers Festival provides the profile and prestige that has been missing for self-published authors. Partnerships like this are important and through them the standard and success of self-published books will continue to rise.
And still we rise!
PS. Self-published authors are invited to apply for a spot in the marquee. To find out more about how to do this, you are welcome to attend the information evening – details below.
Name: Self-Published Marquee Information Evening
Where: Byron Writers Festival Office, Level 1 28 Jonson Street, Byron Bay (next to Witchery)
When: 5.30pm-7pm Wednesday, 20 April 2016
please email: firstname.lastname@example.org