Self-publishing: Kim Macleod – 12 February 2020

The pursuit of self-publishing can take several forms. Kim, who with her husband Sinclair, set up ‘Indie Authors World’, outlined the particular business model they had evolved to facilitate publishing the work of independent authors.

In the midst of a wild weather week, more than twenty members and guests turned out to hear Kim’s ‘potted history’ presentation and Q&A session.

Motivated by a family tragedy, Sinclair wrote a book which he found impossible to get published by conventional means. Self-publication therefore seemed an obvious route, and the demonstration effect of this experience led others to seek assistance from Sinclair and Kim, who set up training sessions for aspiring independent authors. In this way an ‘accidental business’ was born.

In discussing some the (108) books and authors ‘Indie Authors World’ has helped to publish – and a couple of successful authors with significant physical impairments were highlighted – Kim pointed to the importance of providing expertise for independent authors on such critical elements as cover design, cover blurbs, typesetting and interior design. The need for genre positioning was emphasised, and while the practicalities of this for bookshop shelf location are obvious, it seems to this writer at least that some of the more interesting pieces of fiction being written today unashamedly cross genre boundaries.

In terms of marketing, ‘engaging with people’ was an oft-repeated phrase that can be interpreted and realised in a number of ways. Kim addressed word of mouth and presentations to interested groups as the more obvious physical dimensions of this, while the essential employment of social media, not least in locating likely readers such as in Facebook groups, was re-emphasised.

We were told that ‘Indie Authors World’, a member of ‘Publishers Scotland’ offered different types of packages to aspiring authors, employed print on demand and had links to 70 online retailers globally.

After the break, Kim’s question and answer session was particularly useful for aspirants in fleshing out some of the detail of her company’s business model. The company’s packages cost from £1,500 to £5,000 depending on the level of engagement, which can include the roles of editors (copy and line, ‘developmental’) and proof readers. The company has access to book festivals, organised pop-up bookshops and has a regular event in Waterstones’ Sauchiehall Street Glasgow branch on the last Sunday of each month. Kim also clarified where her company stood on such nuts and bolts issues as ISBNs and bar codes, relative printing costs, subsidiary rights, legal support and e-books.

Overall, this was an enlightening session for anyone contemplating the various routes to self-publishing that are now available.

Derek Hall

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