All expertise is relative, I always say. Based on that assumption, I became a self-publishing expert recently.

The occasion was a meeting of the Probus Club of Westbury-on-Trym, near my home in Bristol, where I’d been invited to speak about my book “Back to the Black: how to become debt-free and stay that way.” I had offered a few topics and the club had chosen that one but I suspected that it would not be of interest to many of the members.

At the last minute I decided that I could broaden the topic and increase the potential interest level; by telling also what I had learned by self-publishing my book, both as an e-book and a paperback.

So I said: “I can see by looking around that this is a very affluent group (hollow laughs all round); therefore most of you don’t need to hear about a book that tells you about getting out of debt.

But in this room (Probus is full of retired professional and business people) you have a lot of professional and life experience; and, dare I say it, more time than you had before. Some of you may already have started to translate that experience into a book. Others might fancy the idea but don’t know how to get published. So I shall go on to tell you about the self-publishing revolution; what I have learned about publishing and how you can get yourself published without relying on finding a mainstream publisher who’ll give you the time of day.

Self-publishing is now easier and cheaper than it ever was and, if your book meets a need, it can lead to both significant sales and even the holy grail – for many – of a publishing deal. I know personally an author of horror stories, David Moody– an  ex-bank manager, no less – who self-published his novel as an e-book and put it online free of charge for a year or so. He got so many followers that he then got multi-book deals in both the UK and US. Finally Guillermo del Toro bought the movie rights to one of his books!

I’m not saying that happens every time; but it can happen.”

I went on to talk about the various routes one can take to create e-books and paperbacks; and some of the platforms that help one to do so, such as Amazon of course, their Kindle store and their associate company CreateSpace, and the multi-format e-book retail store Smashwords.

The talk went down well. I’m now planning to recreate and develop the content for other service clubs / organisations. Watch this space!

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