‘Self publishing’ kept cropping up at the CWIG Conference, Joined Up Reading, last weekend.
On Saturday, the tone of the sessions was gloomy. Everyone knew there were big changes afoot in the publishing industry yet nobody had a clear idea about where it was all leading. As the weekend wore on, I ran across a few less gloomy authors who had embarked on self publishing ventures and others who were thinking about it; getting back the rights of their out-of-print books and then publishing them as e-books on Amazon or spotting a niche market and publishing small print runs of their own physical books.
The self publishing session, run by Susan Price, Martin West and myself, was first thing on Sunday morning and a good number of authors got out of bed for it.
Susan got things going, talking about Do Authors Dream of Electric Books? publishing e-books. She was witty and made people laugh which meant they were a bit more awake when it was my turn to talk about Plaister Press publishing physical picture books and the problems of being so small in an industry geared to big. My only attempt at wit was this drawing of cartons of books left on a palette in a lay-by when the delivery lorry couldn’t get down my street.
Finally, Martin, being a publisher, gave the audience some salutary advice about venturing into self publishing physical books before introducing his new organisation, Authorisation! which helps authors publishing independently with warehousing, distribution and sales.
The audience looked as though they were starting to feel positive again as they saw a choice of self publishing routes that could lead them out of the gloom.
Then came a surprise; a session on The State of the Industry followed ours and during it Philippa Dickinson, Managing Director of Random House Children’s Books said that she would be venturing into self publishing herself – bringing back into print her father’s books. She’s the daughter of the highly acclaimed children’s author, Peter Dickinson - now in his eighties and with all his books out-of-print. It seemed a paradox that the MD of Random House is moving from big to small and choosing the self publishing route to bring her father’s books back into print.
There's a full account of the content of this self publishing session on Susan Price's 25 September blog post for Do Authors Dream of Electric Books?