Friday, July 06, 2007

Getting on with self-publishing

When you self-publish, you are your own publisher, so you have to deal with the printing and the printers yourself. You have no recognized publisher doing it for you and coping with the printing problems that arise. Some of these problems are small. In the case of Okraalom, some illustrations referring to a development that happens only at the end of the book have been put at the beginning. It's not big deal, as there is no hard and fast 'rule' for the placing of the illustrations (simplified heraldic shields), so I don't know whether I should do anything about it at this late stage or not. A more serious problem, as I now read through the final proof copy and check the corrections I instructed the printer to make, is that he has somehow given me the wrong previous-proof copy, with none of my pencil-marked corrections in it, making checking the final copy difficult. As time is short, and I want to have the print-out done in time for my family to take a couple of copies overseas, I am going ahead anyway to have the checking done by the end of this weekend. More delay and more printers' work will cost more, so I just have to be content, knowing that however long one picks at the task, the book will never be perfect. No author gets to be completely satisfied with the result, but it would be easier perhaps for the 'favored' author who does not to have dealings with the printing - to be able to leave that problem with the publisher.

Until I actually have the pile of copies at my disposal, I trying not to think much about the prospects of 'Okraalom' and the following up of market opportunities that I've already been investigating. I'm not all that optimistic in the generalized sense. There's such a flood of books pouring out into the market, mostly written by women who seem to have almost taken over the literary scene (especially in New Zealand), for various reasons, having more money and liesure time and traveling more than women ever used to do twenty or thirty years ago; and also it seems that women read books a lot more than men do these days, so they would tend to go more for books written by women. Perhaps 'Okraalom' in its portayal of men and boys from a male perspective may have a chance of righting the balance a little.


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