It's immensely satisfying to embark on a writing project and run through to completion. A chance to inform, help others to understand or break new ground is very fulfilling. It doesn't have to cost the earth either. I have published in three different ways — I hope you enjoy mulling over them.
Option 1 Self-publishing
DIY for authors, this method is an advanced free offering from Amazon, called KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). It allows publication as an eBook, soft or hard copy and is distributed worldwide through Amazon online services. You submit the text and choose your own cover design. They take care of the printing and delivery.
The royalty choices are flexible and you have your own author page, although the writer’s own blog updates have now been removed probably due to the storage space overhead. An example of this is here:
You have to format the document properly, but there are plenty of help files online with KDP to steer you through the formatting. I chose this route for my second Cuz Collection of poems called Reflections in a Country Garden, mainly because I could print on a blue or green paper background. This was important to me for those readers who have ADHD, since they are often put off by the brightness of a white background. This coloured paper option I found out later is not available with the other two methods that lag behind on that front.
Option 2 through a recognised publisher
Here’s how that came about in 2002.
I had just finished my final third year of an MSc. distance-learning course and sent the second half of my dissertation over to a former colleague in the US to see if it made sense to him and was generally accessible in its format, while being factually correct. His last words to me were ‘you have the makings of a good book here’. I pondered this shortly afterwards and, as I was not gainfully employed at that stage, I turned to my bookshelf, took a couple of well-known and well-liked technical books and sent off a draft to both publishers.
Within 48 hours, I received a response from one, asking me ‘Do you have any more of this?’ I took the first half and made the join. It was published shortly afterwards by Wiley & Sons.
As a formal publisher, there was a contract to be signed and they handled the design cover, as you can probably detect at first glance. As an author you do have a lifetime 25% discount of all their books… and your own of course.
Option 3 Self-publishing enhanced
Latterly I had always wanted to write a trilogy about a topic I had known long before from personal experience. I thought it would appeal perhaps to younger and older readers as it wove its way from teenage years through becoming supposedly responsible adults to developing a way of coping in an extraordinary way that leads to a new philosophy of the mind. A broad horizon for any audience I thought, but a purposeful one as you will read from the prefaces of each book.
As I was coming to the end of my time in business, I thought it would be interesting to seed the concept to the US market. You will see why in a moment. This led me to sourcing a self-publishing arm of a company (Balboa Press) affiliated to a larger, well-known publisher, Hay House.
You do pay more for the advertising, which you can also stretch to with KDP too in an online fashion, so to speak, but it is marginally worth it because of the radio podcast and video interview content they include in their marketing packages. You make good contacts with people who have read your work and share their opinions of it openly. This also applies to the reviews on offer, as well as the awards programme online system that allows you to choose which awards categories you go in for.
Finally, your work is never done in looking out for panels, local events and individuals you think might be interested in your books. For instance, I have sold copies of the poems mentioned above and donated all proceeds in aid of a wildlife club I co-founded to raise funds for their work. I have also sent complimentary copies to experts in their field, especially with the last book in the Learning Experience trilogy, called Know Your Mind. I am always surprised if I hear back from any of these very busy individuals. This included reaching out to the scientific community at NASA as the logical next step expressed in that same book.
Only this week, I sent four more copies off after listening to an In Our Time podcast on Radio 4 on the subject of Panpsychism!
A related fun fact:
Did you know that a local girl from Hitchin became the Head of Science at NASA in Feb 2023?
Congratulations to Dr. Nicola Fox[BTW Her new boss presumably is a certain Dr. Kate Calvin, NASA’s Chief Scientist and Senior Climate Advisor]