If you are going down the digital self-publishing route there’s a lot to think about. Do you want to arrange editing, proofs, line editing, covers, and marketing? Yes? Then there is plenty of helpful information for you here.

If your answer is no? Then my advice is to stay with, or seek out conventional publishers because these are just a few of the traditional tasks facing the self-publisher.


Creating an eBook takes all the above mentioned and more.  If you can’t afford to hire people you will also need enough technical know-how to build a digital platform and create an ongoing presence across the Internet from which to promote your book.

I have been working on this myself and luckily I enjoy it. So speaking from personal experience I can say that if you like learning and have patience you will be fine and the learning can be gradual as well as lots of fun. It just can’t be avoided.

Don’t forget -readers have to find your book to buy your book – brilliant, digital or otherwise.


An even bigger question is – are you going to be able to spend the time and incur the cost? That means a lot of time and all of the costs involved in self-publishing and marketing.

If your answer to these questions is yes, that’s great. However, not all writers find this amount of work appealing and for them, the conventional publishing route is probably the best idea.

Maybe you are somewhere in between? Are you perhaps, comfortable with writing and hiring editors etc., but maybe not so comfortable with the marketing side or vice versa?


For writers who fall somewhere between those two stools, it may seem that the new digital imprints: Hydra, Alibi, and Flir which were recently launched by Random house will provide another route towards publication.

These new imprints add to the already growing numbers of digital imprints being launched by conventional publishers but what may seem like a good thing for writers may lead to rapidly diminishing returns and it is worth noting that the Science Fiction Writers Association of America is not supporting the new imprints as an approved market for their members.

They are concerned about the failure to pay an advance towards royalties, and are particularly worried about deductions from these royalties, which could mean, that the writer is sharing some of the risk/costs of publication with the publisher. Here is an excerpt from the S.F.W.A. website

‘SFWA has determined to its own satisfaction that Hydra does not meet our minimum standards for a qualifying market, as its contract does not offer an advance. Additionally, your attempt to shift to the author costs customarily borne by the publisher is, simply, outrageous and egregious. The first of these things alone would disqualify Hydra as a qualifying market. It is the second of these things, however, that causes us to believe that Hydra intends to act in a predatory manner towards authors, and in particular toward newer authors who may not have the experience to recognize the extent to which your contract is beyond the pale of standard publishing practices.’

Strong stuff indeed and it begs the question – at what point does a writer need to decide that a contract that incurs a cost to them – is becoming a little bit suspiciously like a vanity-publishing contract?

Vanity-publishing contracts are those for which the writers pay all the publishing costs and do not count towards a writer’s publication record. Why? Because anybody can get a vanity ‘book deal,’ if they have the money – regardless of their ability to write. In other words, they are not considered reputable.

Mick Rooney, writing in detail about these contracts in the www.independentpublishingmagazine.com  suggests that if it quacks like a duck….


This is a huge topic and I will be returning to the broader subject with more posts in the future as well as discussing some of my own experiences when I begin my own adventures into self-publishing.

In the mean time, the best of luck with your writing – which ever route you take.

All the best


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