Wednesday 24 August 2011

Self-Publishing an E-book

Last week I led a debate at a Southeast Authors meeting entitled "Should authors be publishers?"

The more I delved into the history of publishing, back to the days when authors, booksellers and printers did the whole thing themselves, the more convinced I became that maybe this is a good time to get back to basics.

For about a quarter of a millenium we have all been focusing on pleasing publishers, (and for the last quarter of a century we have done the same with literary agents), and have rather forgotten that it is ultimately only the readers who matter. The problem is finding ways to reach them efficiently, which is where traditional publishing houses have been helping out.

But now we have the electronic media, which allows us to take at least the initial steps to market by ourselves, (with the help of a few experts), and so I am setting out on the e-book publication trail.

I have enlisted the help of Paul Hurst, a self-confessed geek, (, and Elliot Thomson, a designer who has done a brilliant cover design for one of my ghosted books in the past (, and I will keep the blog appraised of progress as we stumble forward together.

The book is called "The Fabulous Dreams of Maggie de Beer" and the blurb currently runs something like this:

Fifteen year-old Maggie arrives in London on the run from her humdrum suburban life, determined to make it big in show business.

For more than thirty years she is exploited by both men and the media. She struggles against endless set-backs and disappointments, always remaining optimistic, always believing that this time her big break has come. Then, when most of us would have given up all hope, the celebrity circus rockets her to bizarre and unexpected pinnacles of fame.

Starting in 1970 Maggie de Beer’s journey mirrors the rise of celebrity culture and the growth of the media which ruthlessly created it, exploiting and destroying the lives of girls like Maggie who willingly offered themselves up, happy to make any amount of personal sacrifices in exchange for a chance to live the dream. She is determined to make herself “interesting” and only when she finally achieves her goal, at enormous personal cost, does she discover, under the full glare of the media spotlight, that the family she was running away from was never as humdrum as she had believed.

“This, I thought as the chauffeured car slid me back from Park Lane to Earls Court behind darkened windows, is what life must have been like for party girls like Christine Keeler in the sixties. I had found my Xanadu, the place where I was meant to be …”

This is the story of a woman who just wanted to be recognised and loved by the public.