(Self)publisher in a spin

Or Threadgold Press up the creek with not much more than a couple of lollipop sticks.


When you decide to self-publish it’s a good idea to remember that what you are taking on is at least six people’s jobs. You have to park the fact that you are the author and settle down at your desk. First you become a typesetter, an editor, a designer and a proofreader. Then your Office Manager gets down to the practical stuff of commissioning the printing, and getting it sorted and delivered (and hiring heavies to persuade everyone you know to proofread… again), then the Catering Manager organises the launch party and the Publicity Manager takes care of the press releases and the local newspapers and talks. The Marketing Manager emails every person you have ever met and persuades them to buy an advance copy. At which point the office supply personnel get busy with the packaging, the stamps, while the Accountant keeps records of sales and the paperwork to go with the orders. The IT Advisor sorts out (or fails to sort out) the glitches with the Amazon system for uploading e-books and images.

What have I left out?

The office staff let the author out this morning for a ten minute run around the garden. She got a little over-excited by her ‘Maple nursery’ (seedlings of Matzsukaze and Sengokaku) in autumn glory. And some brave autumn crocus mixed with primroses (!)   DSCN6789DSCN6792But she is back at her desk now, happily parcelling up an order for three more books (and worrying about whether the print run will last until publication day).

It’s even more DIY than last time round. The City newspaper, has asked the author to provide her own article ‘From the Author’s Mouth’ and supply book-cover image and author photo. The local farm shop is kindly allowing her to sign books in their cafe on the release date. Ah well, she can now drink the ginger wine – a thank you yesterday from the group at the sheltered housing in the village who, in spite of multiple challenges, listened sweetly to her babbling on about the joys of writing.

21 thoughts on “(Self)publisher in a spin

    • Thanks. Experience tells me that, for someone with a relatively low profile, the majority of sales (and almost all the profits) are from direct selling to the wider friendship circle. I have learned some things from reading your blog too.

      • It’s great to learn together and break down a few boundaries, my Mum just printed off 25 for family, friends like you said, but when she looked into it we had to buy licences so we did, I won’t know how they did for a couple of months. I’m putting every penny up for masters if I can get in, it’s a little bit daunting.

  1. It is called multi-tasking Hilary. It sounds hard work but rewarding. Nobody else (?) shares the plaudits and you know it genuinely all your own work. I’m sure you have time to take on a few more tasks in your spare time.

  2. Yer a CHAMPEEN, Hilary ! I’ve never come across another soul who’s done what you have: not only written the novel but created her own publishing house !!!!
    You have my very sincere plaudits: I wish I’d had your courage.

    • You are very kind M-R, but I am one of millions. In many a back bedroom/office of a private house, you will find an embryo publishing company. I just wish I could be more professional, and a little less in permanent catch-up mode. Now where is that Press Release that a friend urged me to send to some very unlikely highbrow papers…?

  3. At least you don’t have to make the paper, Hilary. It sure sounds like you are doing everything else. I am sure glad the task master allowed you time to wander in your garden and sip a glass of wine. I am going a different route… hiring out as much of the work as I can. I suspect I am equally nervous about the results, however. Scary. –Curt

    • I’m sure you are doing the right thing. This is just a novel and I couldn’t justify pouring money (which I don’t really have) into such a project. My hope is that if I work hard enough, I’ll more or less break even. With my non-fiction POW story, I will raid every resource I have to get professional help (if I can’t get a mainstream publisher). Much of this work now is to learn enough to make a better job of the next one. Best of luck, you have some ready-made sales here.

      • It is a steep learning curve we are on, my friend. No doubt about that. Fortunately, my mother-in-law has insisted on picking up the tab. Mother-in-laws don’t get much better than mine. And I really like hearing, “you have some ready-made sales.” It’s music to my ears. Ditto to you. –Curt

  4. Your post really hits the mark on self publishing. Self published authors have to wear many hats, many of which they are not comfortable wearing, sometimes because the hat does not suit their personality. May the positive energy surrounding you continue to grow. 🙂

  5. Great summary of the mysteries of self-publishing. And terrific photos. But still, some of us prefer going it alone and having total control of the creation of the product, and even the marketing. The one concession is that I always go with a catering service for the book launch events 🙂

    • Thanks. There was certainly a moment in the run-up when I wished I had gone with a catering service, but I have a wonderful daughter, skilled in that department and some good friends too. The bonus was that I learned some new cooking skills myself. Control is great, but I’d relinquish it for professional level publishing (especially for my non-fiction project) if I could get it.

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