Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Self publishing and the London Writers' Club


Living in the north of England means that I don’t get to writers’ events in London very often. It seems unfair that so much of the networking and socialising happens there when so many of us live somewhere else. It can feel a bit like being the only girl not invited to the party! So I thought that I’d take advantage of being in London to do some catching up, and I’ve just come back from a very interesting evening at the London Writers’ Club, which meets in the basement of a bistro called Tibits just off Regent Street. It’s an interesting mix of authors, agents and publishers and the atmosphere is friendly and welcoming. The speaker was author Miranda Glover who writes contemporary women’s fiction and she was talking about the uncertain future for writers and the benefits of self-publishing. Miranda’s novels are published by Transworld, but she has just set up Queen Bee Press with a small group of fellow women authors and they’ve published their first joint collection of short stories called The Leap Year. There are twelve stories, each one set in a different country and each story features a woman going through some kind of transition. Apparently the book has done very well - reaching number 4 on the Amazon chart for short fiction. But it does help if you can get a quote by Kathy Lette on the cover! Networking, Miranda stressed, really does work.
With so many authors now without a contract, or writing the kind of books their publishers don’t like, self-publishing seems a very attractive option, especially now that it’s so easy to market a book electronically. It was a fascinating evening - and the wine was good too!

5 comments:

  1. What a lovely evening.
    The positive news on self publishing is very reassuring from where I am sitting (and you think the North of England is a long way away).
    Sounds like an interesting read.

    Al

    Publish or Perish

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  2. Yes, the message was - to all authors - go out and get self-publishing and self-publicising, because you can't rely on the mainstream publishers to do it for you, and with e-sales you don't need them to market it either. Really encouraging.

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  3. Thanks Kathleen for those encouraging words. As a novice writer, the concept of self publishing has often carried the stigma of being a sign of poor quality or not being good enough for the mainstream. Fortunately a new Writer's project in the form of North East Writer's Block, based in Middlesbrough will enable me and my fellow writers to make valuable connections and also provide us with the confidence in our work to be able to put it out their ourselves.

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  4. I've so enjoyed all your London posts Kathleen, which seem to show that the outsider sees a good deal both of our exotic capital city and also this arcane game of writing and publishing.
    Having recently self-published the Easington Collection, Shrugging off the Wind, I was interested in your note on the liberation of self-publishing. The key difference between self publishing and vanity publishing, is - in my view - the significance of good refereeing of the quality of the writing and the professionalism of the product.

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  5. I agree Wendy - what has dragged self-publishing down is the quality control angle.

    Suey Sue - I think the Leap Year project is a good example of a group of women/writers co-operating to put their work out into the world. Apparently the co-edited each other's work in pairs, as well as sharing the whole business of printing and publicity.

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