A publisher, on the other hand, sells books: markets them, advertises them, publishers not just one or two individual books but one, two, three (or more) series of books. Publishing is not a ‘calling' or a ‘talent’, it’s a business. And to make a success as an independent writer you also need to be an independent publisher.
I’ve been a publisher once before – a magazine publisher in the conventional (that, is old-fashioned) way. I commissioned articles, had the magazine designed, got tens of thousands of copies printed, had them distributed to shops. And then waited to find out how much money I’d lost!
That was back in the 1990s. The idea that you could publish without paying huge sums of money to get all the salable copies printed in advance was not one that had even occurred to me. On-demand publishing didn’t exist back then. Nor did Kindle and iPad devices. Heck, Amazon didn’t even exist back then! Fortunately, the world has changed, and my approach to publishing has changed with it.
Anyway, it’s early days for me but this year I launched my publishing business (Dark Neon Books) with five programming books under the imprint (or ‘brand name’), Bitwise Books. There will be one more programming book published before the year is out. And I also redesigned and republished three novels via Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). They were previously published via Lulu.
Along the way, I’ve had to do all kinds of other stuff such as buy ISBNs so that they are shown to be published by my company (a free Amazon ISBN shows them to be ‘Independently Published’ which is not what I wanted) and I’ve had to start to learn the whole confusing, complicated business of advertising and marketing. To be frank, I am still in the early stages of this and I’m planning to become more professional about marketing during 2020.
If you are an independent publisher, a small publishing company or a self-published writer and you would be interested in sharing your experience, please get in touch. Maybe I can do a short interview (by e-mail is fine). From now on, I want this blog to be by writers and for writers. So let’s share our experiences to help one another!