That's right! Shelf Help - The Pocket Guide to Self-Publishing is now available to pre-order for the 28th of February! Thanks to the great people over at Kobo Books, you can now buy Shelf Help ahead of the release date, and get it delivered as soon as it hits midnight! How cool is that? Got to love this whole internet thing. It's so good to have it ready to be released, poised and waiting.
So if you'd like to get your copy of Shelf Help - The Pocket Guide to Self-Publishing, then just follow the link below and click on 'Pre-Order'.
In the meantime, here's a sneak peek of the first chapter. Enjoy!
Introducing Shelf Help
You are about to undertake an exciting journey.
It was a blustery and bitingly cold Saturday in late 2011. I was seated behind a dwindling pile of my freshly published debut, The Written, an epic fantasy novel several years in the forging. It was late afternoon. Shoppers flitted past the bookshop window, hurrying to get back to their warm homes and to something hot and steaming in a mug. I was just starting to consider packing up and calling it a day, and a successful one at that. Plenty of books had been signed and sold, but now the bookshop was winding down to a close, and I was starting to feel the effects of sitting in the same chair for six hours.
But before I could get to my feet and at last stretch my anaesthetised legs, a middle-aged woman, all wrapped up in a bright orange scarf, approached my signing table. She wore an inquisitive expression.
‘I’ve also written a book,’ she said. You could see just the slightest hint of pride in her polite and friendly smile.
I told her that was great and naturally congratulated her. After listening to a brief synopsis of her book (it was a historical romance novel as it turned out, and with every word that smile of hers broadened), I asked her whether she had any plans to publish it. She replied that she did. In fact, she had already started to look for an agent.
The woman, who later introduced herself as Gillian, then asked me who my publisher was. I smiled, perhaps betraying some pride of my own, and replied that I was actually self-published. Gillian nodded, quietly said ‘I see’ and looked around at the bookshop for a moment as if to check that yes, she was indeed in a bookshop. It was then that she asked me a pivotal question.
‘So why did you self-publish?’ she asked me. The inquisitive look had returned. As I paused to think of an answer, it abruptly dawned on me: the reason I was sitting in that chair, in that bookshop, on that blustery day.
‘Because I can,’ I replied. Gillian answered with a slow nod.
Mine was not an answer of arrogance. It stemmed from the realisation of a simple fact: that self-publishing is not a last resort or a consolation prize; it is a choice, and a damned smart one at that.
After recounting my tale of self-publishing to Gillian, it was plain to see that she realised that too. With a slow and deliberate motion, she reached into her bag and withdrew a little notebook and a chewed-up pen. That moment was a special one, I’ll tell you that. It confirmed to me what I had been striving for all along – that I was as valid as any of the authors surrounding me, stacked on the tall shelves.
Let’s just say that I stayed in that chair for at least another hour and that Gillian left tightly clutching her notebook and my business card, her perceptions changed, full of new ideas, and already itching to know more…
…And I would wager that’s why you picked up this Pocket Guide.
You’ve made a good choice. You may be here because you have just put the final bit of punctuation on the final page of your debut and now you’re keen to show it off to the world. Or, you might have just leapt into your first chapter and are full to bursting with ideas and dreams of how far you can take it. (The sky’s the limit, I’ll tell you that.) Or, you may be an established traditional author, looking for more control over your books, and better royalties while you’re at it. Whatever sort of author you are, you’ve come to the right place.
If you delve into the history of self-publishing, you’ll soon find that the concept isn’t an entirely new one. Mark Twain self-published his works. As did Virginia Woolf. And let’s not forget good old Benjamin Franklin. What is new, however, is the age that we now live in. A downright brilliant age if you ask me.
We live in the glorious age of digital publishing, a time where technology and market forces have come together, and gifted us authors with the chance to succeed without the help of a traditional publishing house. Self-publishing has now moved on from tiresome ‘vanity publishing’ – a phrase which evokes visions of authors standing at the doors of their garages, glaring at piles of unsold books. No longer do we have to traipse from one bookshop to the next, selling a copy here, a copy there. For the first time in history, and thanks to our good friend, the internet, we can sell and deliver content in multiple formats all over the world and without even having to get off our couches. We can chat to our fans en masse or one-on-one without putting on our shoes. Technology has built a new breed of author. The self-publisher. The indie. The “author-preneur”.
So what does this all mean, my fellow pen-jockey? It means you’ve entered the market at a great time, possibly the best time. This new market is a voracious one and now we have the tools to feed it. With hard work, passion, and a good dollop of know-how, you’ve got a shot at achieving that dream of being a successful professional author. So if you’ve got the passion and are ready for some hard work, then I’ve got the know-how.
I approach self-publishing from a DIY perspective, which means taking the reins with your own hands. I call it the Shelf Help method, and this guide will tell you all about it. But firstly, here’s a little introduction to who I am, and why I’ve written this guide...
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