Neil Wright is a South African writer and the owner of Wright Publishing. He shares this post to answer five questions on self-publishing.
Neil and his wife Liesel live in Johannesburg. They run a Game Lodge, Sigurwana “Close to Heaven” on the Soutpansberg in Limpopo Province.
Wright says his books are non-fictional. Subjects include business management, the lives of two artists, a book on numbers, and his latest on the current political scene in South Africa.
5 Self-Crafted Questions On Self-Publishing Answered
1. Did you self-publish because you could not find a publisher?
No, I faced reality. I started writing late in life. I needed 10,000 hours of writing and the help of Writers Write. I love holding the finished product in my hand. I know I can do that if I self-publish.
Ones reasons for writing all differ. Does one need an income from writing? Is writing just a hobby? Can one self-finance? Does one have the ability and means to promote the book? I self-published to make certain of the book in hand.
2. Are there question marks about the quality of self-published books?
You firstly need a good creative layout artist to prepare the book for printing. A sample of their work will tell you all. This assumes you don’t have the know-how yourself.
You need a skilled editor, who understands one and where the chemistry works. Finally, your proof reader must have the utmost attention to detail. Some readers are serial error spotters.
There are no reasons why self-published books cannot be up there with the best. A quality product needs the support of a skilled team.
3. What are the main draw backs of self-publishing, apart from the cost?
Self-publishing authors need to do their own marketing. All the selling tools must be put to effective use, social media, book launches, radio interviews, book reviews, etc.
Distributors of books are helpful and have sales persons taking orders. My printer has a joint venture with a distributor. The printer gives exposure through their website. The more books sold, the more books need printing. It is good business. Still, the author must do a great deal of the promotion.
Between the distributor and the bookshop, the cost is in the region of 70% of the selling price of the book. Pushing online sales makes sense.
When I wanted to place a pile of my books in an eye-catching position in a bookshop, I was told. “No, we have an agreement with the large publishing houses. The best positions are reserved for them.” Self-publishers may also battle to have book reviews published in the media.
4 What are the main pluses of self-publishing?
The chance of living the dream of publishing has become easier. The advent of computers and the internet can be thanked. Self-publishing online may not be as fulfilling as holding the finished product in one’s hand. But it is less costly and a good option.
With new technology, printing on demand over the counter does assist self-publishers. Will AI (Artificial Intelligence) assist writers? Copy writing for adverts are using AI successfully.
Technology has not reduced the number of people employed. Yes, positions have become redundant, but others have increased. Technology has increased production and reduced the unit costs, so boosting sales. Resulting in more people employed in logistics and sales.
For the highly technical AI might aid an increase in the number of books produced by self- publishing authors in the future.
5 What advice would you give to would-be self-publishing writers?
Writing is being creative and should give one a sense of reward. Focus must be on the appeal of the writing, the content and the technical design. There is an explosion in the volume of the written word. Together with rivalry from audio and video, focusing on excellence is a must.
The test is enticing attention to your writing, the power of design, the interest and ease of reading are factors. Don’t under estimate the help from those who have the knowledge and expertise. My thanks go to those who have helped me over the years.
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