Guest Post: Self Publishing Through Indiegogo

February 6, 2013

Mike Harris is taking the route chosen by many authors throughout history – by trying to make his Grandfather’s novels a self-publishing success. Are you ready to take a chance on an unknown author, and help make it happen for him?

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Self-publishing feels like a relatively new thing, doesn’t it? It’s thanks to the ebook revolution, it seems, that we have seen an explosion in self-published books. Amazon’s shelves are positively teeming with offers, some good, some bad, some extraordinary and some downright awful.

But the truth is that self-publishing has been around for a lot longer than you’d think. Before the likes of E. L. James, Amanda Hocking and John Locke took over the best seller lists, authors of all walks of life were taking the DIY route, and for many reasons.

The popular image of the self-published author is one of an egotistical brat who can’t really write but can’t take no for an answer. But the fact is that it wasn’t just those who had been rejected by one too many publishing houses who were doing it. Edgar Allen Poe, Alexandre Dumas, Mark Twain and James Joyce are just a handful of famous names who decided to take matters into their own hands (http://www.simonteakettle.com/famousauthors.htm).

Did you know that Beatrix Potter, frustrated by unreasonable demands from picky publishers, went ahead and printed 250 copies of The Tale of Peter Rabbit herself? That Virginia Woolf self-published most of her work through the Hogarth Press – a company which she and her husband founded themselves, hand-printing their books in the dining room? Or that Robert James Waller was walking from store to store, offering a money-back guarantee as an incentive for them to stock self-published copies of The Bridges of Madison County? And we all know where each of those stories ended.

There are probably as many reasons for self-publishing as there are authors doing it. I decided to take the self-publishing route for my grandfather’s books because his health was failing him at an alarming rate. Having been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease shortly after finishing his epic work, The Cypress Branches, we watched as the disease robbed him of his short term memory and he became more and more confused by the week. By self-publishing I could get a version of his book printed quickly, and therefore allow him to enjoy being a published author for those few precious months we had left before his illness became too bad.

I went ahead and put together a hardback edition of his original manuscript. I printed 108 copies. The first went to William, the others were given to family and close friends. But when I saw the fruits of my labour – the modern day equivalent of the Hogarth Press, I suppose, working on a laptop resting on the dining room table, rather than a letterpress – I could see the potential in doing things myself.

William’s illness means that he is unable to contribute to the process himself. An editor and an author must understand each other implicitly in order to work well together, and no editor would be able to build that relationship with William now. I felt a lot more comfortable editing his prose myself, as I had already built that relationship with him. No one else would have the opportunity to gain such an understanding of his work. Alzheimer’s has stolen that opportunity away.

It also falls to me to undertake all of the marketing and publicity tasks which William would have done himself had he been well enough. I have tracked down readers, reviewers and bloggers, convincing them to take a chance on an unknown author – just as those other now famous self-published authors had to do in the past. Zohar was one of those intrepid readers I contacted who took that chance on William, took his writing to their heart and let the world know what they thought through their reviews. It’s thanks to this overwhelmingly positive response that I know that I’ve done the right thing, I’m on the right track and it’s worth all the effort.

Part Two of William’s trilogy will be launched in April. But I’d like to invite those intrepid readers who are willing to give a good book a go the chance to get hold of a copy early.

I have set up a crowd funding campaign to help cover the costs of launching the new book. In exchange for a contribution which will go towards design, printing and marketing costs, supporters will be able to choose a “perk”. I thought it only fair that everyone who supports the campaign should be able to read at least one instalment of the trilogy in return. Perks start with a contribution of just £3 (around $5), and the more you can contribute, the more swag you’ll be able to choose from. What’s more, supporters who choose an ebook or paperback of It Never Was You as a perk will receive their copy up to a month before it’s available in the shops.

I believe that William’s trilogy has the potential to be enjoyed by large audiences around the world. But to get his book to that audience, I need people like you, people who love good fiction, to take a chance on it. Just as many did before with the likes of Edgar, Alexandre, Mark and James, Beatrix, Virginia and Robert. Could you take a chance on William and help me get his books into the hands of readers who I know are out there waiting to discover him?

If you think you can, please take a look at the campaign page (http://igg.me/p/310787/x/2088376). By grabbing one of the perks, or contributing what you can, you’ll be helping me get the next instalment of William’s wonderful trilogy out to its audience. If you can’t contribute directly but still want to help, then you can by sharing the campaign page with your friends, family, twitter followers or on your blog. There is a handy set of sharing tools just underneath the video. Whatever you can do to help, just think…when the books hit the global bestseller lists, you’ll be able to say “I helped make that happen”.

I love discussing my grandfather’s books with others and finding out how readers have reacted to them, so please do get in touch with me. You can find me on Facebook (http://facebook.com/CypressBranches), Twitter (http://twitter.com/cypressbranches), the blog (http://acuteanglebooks.blogspot.co.uk) or Goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1575297.William_E_Thomas).

Whether you can back this campaign with cash or with kindness, thank you so much! I really wouldn’t be able to do it without your support.

To contribute to the campaign: http://igg.me/p/310787/x/2088376

To read Zohar’s review of Pegasus Falling: http://manoflabook.com/wp/?p=6328

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