sElF-pUbLiShInG = mAtErIaL + mOtIvAtIoN + mOnEy

mAtErIaL – find somebody who is better than you and ask them to help you EdIt your work – this bit of the creative process takes three times longer than you first thought

mOtIvAtIoN – after my mum had been diagnosed with cancer I was in a writing workshop when the author said “just do it” - so I have (oh and she has recovered from cancer)

mOnEy – treat it like a BuSiNeSs – I started with £500 in the pot which I am prepared to lose – I have 100 copies of my booklet A bit under the weather ... verse to sell.  The local printers were not the cheapest option but they were flexible and tried hard to accommodate me.  To apply for your own ISBN search for Nielsen on the internet.  Some printers will supply an ISBN for a fee.  You don’t have to have an ISBN on your book.  A bArCoDe is another option that your printer can give you advice on.  You may want to set up a WeBsItE to showcase your work or a bLoG.  Paypal is one way of taking payment for orders.  Promoting and selling my booklet will be the next bit of the adventure ...

Poetry/verse is not mainstream when it comes to publishing.  Have a look at getting your poetry published at  You may be one of the super gifted, hard working, few who get on board with one of the publishers of poetry pAmPhLeTs.  For the rest of us there is always the option of self-publishing.  Perhaps the purists amongst you would argue £500 would be better spent entering competitions, attending literary festivals, workshopping with writing groups, purchasing pamphlets of up and coming poets, plugging away at self promotion ...  The majority of us have to accept that we are never going to rise to the dizzy heights of Laureate of anything more than our own keyboard.  For me it was about getting something finished.

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A friend of mine, Robert Merry, has self-published his book Swordbearer and this is how -

You’ve done the hard work and written that novel.  It’s finished and now you’d like more people to read it.  In an ideal world, you find an agent, who finds a publisher, and all your worries are over.  For most of us, it doesn’t work like that, though.  What are the alternatives?

You could try “vanity” publishing, where you pay to have the book printed, before trying to sell it to all and sundry.  But nowadays there is an alternative – self-publishing as an e-book through a major distributor, like Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), a subsidiary of Amazon.  The process is easy and needn’t cost a penny.  Having registered with the KDP site, you upload your book in one of their preferred formats and also upload a cover design.  This cover is not actually downloaded by the purchaser, but adds interest to the page on Amazon, where your book is offered for sale.  Then you set a price and select the royalty you wish to receive, which can be as much as 70%.  As KDP is an American site, you set the first price in US dollars, which normally determines the price in other markets, but you can also set individual prices, such as that for the UK.  You will also need to fill in a form for the US taxman – any American sales will be taxed over there.  And that’s all there is to it – you can now sit back and wait for the royalties to roll in.

Now, there is also a way to get your book into print as a paperback, again through a subsidiary of Amazon called CreateSpace.  Once again you need to upload your book in a format that they can use, but you also now need a more complete cover design, as this will be printed.  You will need a front cover, a spine, and a back cover.  There is a “wizard” on the CreateSpace site to guide you through the process.  Once again, you do not need to spend any money up front.  Each copy ordered will be printed individually and CreateSpace will take their costs from the sale price of the book.  They tell you what their costs are before you set the price, so you can ensure that you have a reasonable margin of royalties.

So self-publishing is relatively easy for anyone with good computer skills (or the assistance of an average eight-year-old!).  But then comes the hard part.  Without a publisher behind you, you have to let the world know of the existence of your magnum opus yourself.  Whether by word of mouth, your contacts book, friends and family, forums, or Facebook and Twitter, you need to drum up the business on your own.  But it’s really rewarding when you see some of your readers giving it good reviews on Amazon.  If you’ve got a work waiting to be published, why not have a go – you’ve nothing to lose!