Twenty years ago, publishers sometimes said yes

Twenty years ago if you wanted to have a book published you would probably write some or all of it, and then you would send it off to a publisher, or perhaps an agent. If your work was any good there was a fair old chance that you would achieve publication.

These days the world doesn’t work like that.  Send a book to a publisher and there is a 99% chance that all you will get back is a moderately polite note saying “no thanks”. There might also be a line saying that the publisher only takes books from agents.

Send the book to the agents and they will most likely tell you that they are not taking on any new writers.

It is the almost perfect catch 22.

Almost perfect because there is a way out for the technology that has put publishers into difficulty has also resulted in the solution for the would-be author. That technology is the advent of digital printing and it has made it far easier for you, me and everyone else to publish their own books. 

Indeed one can argue that the move by publishers and agents to restrict their intake of new books has itself helped speed up the arrival of self-publishing.

In fact we can all, in a very real sense, be publishers these days.

Of course being a publisher does require a certain amount of administration – although fortunately not much. You need to send off a copy of your book to the British Library, and up to five other universities should they request a copy.

And you have to do that with no income. You have to pay for the books and the postage.

But there is an upside from that, for by depositing the book in the British Library you will be listed in the British National Bibliography, which is a listing of all the books held in the Library. Others will be able to find your book there, if they search on the library’s web site.

There are a few other things you have to do too, such as get yourself an ISBN – which will cost a little, but is not hugely expensive. Having an ISBN (that’s the long number that every book has printed on one of its title pages) means you get the book onto other databases, so anyone looking for a copy will be able to find you as the publisher.

Which leaves two problems – the marketing of your book so would-be buyers know all about it and can buy it, and the storage of your books while you are waiting to sell them.

Marketing of books these days is done through web sites and blogs. You write a daily blog about your subject area and people will turn to it, reading your words of interest. Advertise your book on every page and at the foot of every article and you will start to get sales in.

Which leaves us with just one problem – storage. Which is where Admiral Document Storage comes in.  You can put your books in our storage facility. No one else can get at them, since you have your own space, and you can come and pick up any number that you like at any time.

And here’s one other thought. If you publish a book and you are going to sell it at say £12.99, you might print 100.  Sell the first 30 and you will probably get all your print and development costs back. Sell the rest slowly over time and you will make maybe £700. The fact that takes several years to achieve may suggest that this is not much of a business, but if you imagine having a dozen books all jogging along in this way, it begins to be a nice little spare time earner.

You can find out more about Admiral Document Storage on our website

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