Self Publishing – Realistic Expectations

Today could be tricky. Some days are like this in the wonderful, wacky world of self publishing.

Mostly, the kind of advice I hand out to individual writers looking to get into print ( or to have their manuscripts converted for the Kindle ( results in the writer and I working together on their project. This is good news all round. They become published authors without it costing an arm and a leg and I make a modest living. Win win.

Okay, you may be thinking ‘Why don’t the writers do it all themselves and save themselves money?’ Fair question, but in my experience there are still a great many people out there who simply don’t have the skills to do it. There are others, and I’ve worked with several recently, who just don’t have the time to D.I.Y. and they are genuinely happy to let someone else do it for them. It’s a system that works most of the time. As I say, win win.

But then there are the tricky situations, and today could be one of them.I’ll explain the situation briefly, but obviously not give too much away.

Later today I have a meeting with a writer who wants to be published and see his work in print. He has spent the last ten years of his life on his manuscript, a major piece of work, which sounds absolutely fantastic. It’s non-fiction, and if published could be one of the finest reference books for the niche market he’s in.

By the sounds of it this ‘reference book’ would be somewhere in the region of 700 pages in length, a huge,  full colour coffee table book, with over 500 colour photographs and illustrations. He also wants it hardback. The cost to produce would be staggering.

Now here’s the extremely tricky part. Over the years he has assumed that once his manuscript was finished he would be sure to find a publisher willing to take the project on board, and at the very least find  ‘sponsorship’  to have the book produced. He has certainly aimed high and just chatting to him on the phone I can tell the book would very much be a major work, and that he does indeed know his subject inside out. He has also spoken to all the right people in the game too. He did his homework, there is no question about that. But were his expectations ever realistic?

I know am not the first person or company he has approached, and in fact he has knocked on more doors than I knew ever existed. He has been trying to get this book off the ground for over three years and some of the sums he told me he has been quoted for producing the books…well, they are telephone numbers. I can tell from chatting to him on the phone that he is now at his wit’s end. I could be his last hope. So. no pressure there then.

I’ve been thinking over what his options are and how I can help him out. I have a plan, but more of that later. So we are going to meet this afternoon. He’s bringing his laptop with him and I can’t wait to see what he has been working on. I am also interested in this niche market and the subject. Very.

There’s no doubt about it, a full colour coffee table type hardback book would look sensational, and there would be people wealthy enough in his ‘niche’ to afford such a beautiful object but was the project ever a  ‘realistic’  proposition? I leave that for you to make up your own mind.


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About writegoodbooks

I help new writers become published authors through self-publishing. I also offer writers the chance to have their work converted into Kindle eBooks and publish them on the Amazon Kindle store.

7 responses to “Self Publishing – Realistic Expectations”

  1. writeonthebeach says :

    Sounds like the book could be the coffee table Steve! Just a thought, I’m sure you’ve had it, but would it divide into say, 3 volumes?? Good luck

  2. secretsdaughter says :

    Best of luck. Out of interest, what’s the subject area? (You don’t need to give anything away!) Always interested in hearing about how others are going about this beautiful game of publishing.

  3. writegoodbooks says :

    Thanks for comment. Much appreciated. I will reveal all tomorrow after our meeting this afternoon…as I don’t want to upset the writer by blogging about his ‘project’ just yet…..he is very protective. I know that from chatting on the phone to him.
    He seems a very nice chap who has just hit a brick wall with his manuscript and if it’s at all possible I’d like to help him out…..I’m sure we can work something out for him. It’s definitely a project I’d like to be involved with.

  4. olivertidy says :

    Good luck. It sounds like a huge undertaking. Actually, daunting might be a better word. I look forward to reading about how it went.

  5. francisguenette says :

    The question of whether the whole project was ever realistic is very much a subjective one. We do need to dream big. It’s possible that for some people, bringing their life’s work out into the world (at whatever cost – and even if it is just to a niche market) might be worth all the time, effort and expensive.

    On the other hand, the era of such books may be going the way of the dinosaur. So much information accompanied by beautiful pictures is available on the internet – click, click, click – free and easy and oh so portable.

    And yet a real work of art will always have a market somewhere.

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