Event report

Conference 2014 - Self-publishing Trends and Revelations

Report published 20 July 2014

Writer and academic Alison Baverstock presented her research on self-publishing trends to the conference.  Key findings are that self-publishing is undertaken right across the demographic spectrum (gender, age, employment, education level) and it is not just for those who cannot find a publisher (42% of self-publishers are also traditionally published).

Key reasons for choosing to self-publish were: having control of the process, having better financial returns, as a response to problems with publishers (both finding and keeping one), and for fun.  Contrary to its image, self-publishing is a team-based rather than go-it-alone endeavour – more than half of self-published writers used an editor, and many also hire cover designers and other professional support.  The median time spent preparing a book for self-publication was 7 months, and median cost was £1,500.  The reported satisfaction with self-publishing was very high.

Joining Alison was Hazel Gaynor, whose novel The Girl Who Came Home (a novel of the Titanic) was self-published, only to then be picked up by a traditional publisher.  Hazel’s motivation for self-publishing was to enable her to consider the book “finished” so she could focus on the next book with a view to finding a publisher for that.  Another spur was the 100-year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic (in 2012) which provided a marketing link which Hazel used to promote the novel.  As it happened, The Girl Who Came Home was highly successful and attracted the attention of a publisher who took on both that novel and Hazel’s next.

Report by Kate Thomson

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