There are many reasons why I chose to self-publish There Are Other Rivers. It may be interesting to share some of them here.
I self-published my first book. I didn’t do that through choice. I did it because no agents or publishers were interested in my story about cycling round the world. I wasn’t famous, I hadn’t broken a record, my trip had no novel twist (full rant here). It’s a book that is now rated as 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon. (If you have read it please, please leave a review.) Anyway, back to the point…
Trying to get my self-published book stocked in bookshops on a meaningful scale was futile and frustrating. Eventually though I found a publisher and began selling books in the traditional way. I will continue to do this where I deem it appropriate.
Fast-forward five years and five books and I am choosing to return to self-publishing. Why?
I love bookshops but they account for a tiny percentage of my book sales. Almost all my sales are online or at my talks. This book will not be for sale in any bookshops. What I lose by that I make up with the freedom I gain. Self-publishing gives me total control. I can share the story however I want. This is a linear, chronological journey but I wanted to share it in a non-linear way. That might not be sensible. It probably won’t appeal to a mainstream audience. It may not even be a good idea. But it was my idea and I am willing to stand by it. I have produced this book as a Foldedsheet “mappazine” (25 second video explanation here), as a book of photography (also on the iPad here), a Kindle version, a PDF download, an audio book and even as a good old fashioned “normal” book. The schedule for getting all of this work done was determined solely by how hard I chose to work, how much coffee I drank and how little sleep I could survive on.
I wrote this book myself. I edited it and proof red it two. I will do all of the sales and marketing on my own. I acknowledge that the book would definitely have been better with the help of an editor, a proofreader and well-chosen test readers. But my walk through India was alone. I accepted that out there I would stand or fall by myself. This project is the same. It is risky. It is a bit stupid. But there are no excuses to hide behind and I like that. Self-publishing is an opportunity for simplicity, hard work and personal responsibility. Exactly like the journey I am writing about.
Another important aspect of self-publishing is that it can provide value for money, cutting out all sorts of middle men. Buy Ten Lessons from the Road in a bookshop and you’ll be giving me 50p of the Ł10 price. I have priced all the versions of There Are Other Rivers as reasonably as possible. I am aware that this is only a short story and that I am not Shakespeare. But I hope that you feel it is value for money. Get in touch if you don’t and I will send you a refund.
The internet makes self-publishing so simple. This returns a degree of power to normal people. I can never compete for the publishers’ penny against celebrity travel authors or people who have had their trips on the telly and then dashed off a hasty book [full rant here again]. Self-publishing gives a voice to people who have an interesting story, though perhaps one that will only appeal to a small niche. I am not a famous author hidden away behind PA’s and PR teams. Send me an email or get in touch on Twitter. Tell me what you think of the book. I’ll reply in person.
On the subject of the internet and social media, one of the hardest parts of self-publishing is informing a wide audience about the book. I would be extremely grateful if you could help spread the word about There Are Other Rivers: tell your friends or mention it online. Pop it on Facebook, mention it on Twitter, write a review, interview me… Most helpful of all would be if you were willing to leave a quick rating and review on Amazon (do it here) for any of my books (There Are Other Rivers is there in Kindle form already). I’m not looking for fake feedback – leave your honest opinion! If you already have an Amazon account this will take you less than a minute. Just click here.
I hope you enjoy There Are Other Rivers. Read it quickly and you might be the first person to read it: nobody but me has read it yet.