Some thoughts on publishing your own books
In 2015, I set up my own publishing imprint (Flat Bed Press) and published one of my own books. The Bold Ship Phenomenal is a chapter book for junior readers aged 7/8 to 11/12. I published it as both a hard copy and an e-book.
It seemed to me at the time, and still seems, that self-publishing is a misnomer.
In fact, very little of the publishing was done by me. I did the writing. The rest of the work was done by a host of industry professionals, without whom the book would still be a manuscript.
From the editor to the illustrator, to the designer, to the proof-reader, to the printer (and the print broker), to the distributor, mine has seemed the relatively easy part of the process. I have no doubt that without the involvement of these talented individuals the book would not be as beautiful as I now consider it to be.
What I did get to do, is to have a degree of hands-on involvement in the production of the book that I hadn’t experienced with my previous books, published by a mainstream publisher. I found that involvement to be satisfying to a degree I hadn’t anticipated. It was, from start to finish, a deeply creative act.
Which must be why I am considering doing it again.
I feel the book has been a success. It hasn’t become a bestseller, and it hasn’t made my name as a writer. But it has recovered the financial cost of producing it, and been well-received by the children who have read it, their teachers, librarians and schools. It has also attracted some industry recognition, in the form of an award and a shortlisting.
That’s good enough for me.
I saw publishing the book as an investment in my career as a writer at a time when the publishing industry felt uncertain and constrained. Has that investment been worth it? I think it has, if only for the people I have worked with, and things I have learnt from them, along the way.
Sarah Johnson, Author