The question of self publishing

Earlier this week I met a gentleman and his wife at a luncheon in New Minas. He was both charming and articulate. The conversation eventually turned to writing. He’d published a book! Having retired from farming a few years back, he told me he needed something to do and it turns out that something was novel writing. Like me, he also had a great show of support from the community when he had his book launch. I guess that goes to show that rural Nova Scotia is VERY supportive of its own.

Over the course of our conversation he mentioned that his wife always carries three copies of the book with her wherever they go. And since I’m a push over for local authors I ended up buying one. I don’t expect I’ll get around to reading it until this winter as I have a lot of books on my TBR list. Before the luncheon was over I believe all three copies were sold. I laughed and told his wife she’d have to get a larger purse.

So the author’s name is Glenn Ells, from Sheffield Mills, a self-proclaimed “old coot.” Yes folks, that’s what it actually says on the back of his book!! Since March I believe, he told me he’s sold 1200 copies of the book—a  feat he is more than proud of. This is with no advertising, just word of mouth. I do believe he had someone from the local paper write a review of it, however. He told me his wife has sold 800 copies out of her purse alone.

The name of the book is “Starting Over.” It’s set in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley in 1760 and is based on the Planter years between the expulsion of the Acadians and the influx of Loyalists following the American Revolution. That’s about all I know except someone at the luncheon mentioned that it was a love story….What do you know? I guess even “old coots” can write about romance.

After meeting Glenn I started to wonder how many people out there are self publishing. My guess is it’s a fairly substantial number. It’s not something I’ve ever considered for myself for a number of reasons but I’m sure for someone like Glenn this has been a very rewarding experience. I’m wondering how many people out there have given thought to self publishing and just what your ideas on the subject is.

One thing that can’t be denied is the fact that Glenn is having one heck of a great time promoting his own book and meeting new and interesting people. I wish him all the best.

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  1. Your site is beautiful, Laura. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment for Plyllis.

  2. Forgot to mention that I self-published my first book. It was intention, but turned out to be the best thing I could have done. My 2nd book was picked up this year by Theytus and will be released 2011.

    I’m with Glen, promoting my book has been a fascinating experience.

    • I’m glad to hear that self-publishing was such a positive experience for you, I know several people who have done so and they, too, are happy with the results.

      And congratulations on the upcoming release of your second book!!

  3. What a fascinating story! I recently did a blog post about self-publishing and expressed my thoughts about it, and I think the summary of it is that self-published books don’t always equate second-class books. The editing of them isn’t always up to par, but the stories might be well told. Even if the stories are well-crafted with an excellent story, the book might not have a wide enough market-appeal for a traditional publishing house to pick up.

    • There seems to be quite a few people out there who do self-publish and I’m sure there are many wonderful self-published books printed every year. I’m quite anxious to read Glenn’s novel when I have a bit more time.

  4. I’ll bet the eyes of the “old coot” and his wife didn’t glaze over as they talked about his book! I envy those who embrace self-promotion with enthusiasm.

    The published writers I know are about equally divided between self-pubbed and traditional, and both groups have had both good and not-so-good experiences. The one thing that the self-published authors have said is that their sales rarely offset the cost, but most didn’t publish with financial gain as their main motive. For writers still wondering about which publishing direction to take, motivation may be a key to making the right decision.

    • Carol, I later discovered from a friend of mine that not only was Glenn a farmer but he was also a MLA for a number of years. I guess he’s used to self-promotion!!!

      I’ve heard that self-publishing is a fairly costly pursuit but I guess for some people being able to see their work in print is well worth it.

      • I think so, too. For some that’s more important than how many people actually buy it, especially if they have family and a widening circle of friends who are eager to have copies.

  5. On this question of self-publishing I have spent a lot of time, having looked into a few companies just to learn what is involved. One company that stands out is Outskirts Press, Inc. Ever hear of it? With all of them, a big drawback for me is the author having to pay out a certain amount of money to get her book out there. Also, the author has to do so much of her own publicity, something I don’t believe I would be very good at doing as I find self-promotion to be awkward and embarrassing. It is ‘vanity press’, isn’t it? – aptly named or out of necessity? I understand it is VERY hard these days to get published, but I keep trying! I now have two of my children’s stories sent to publishers, as of December 29 and 30, so 2010 is a new year of new chances for me.

    • I’m sure it takes a special kind of person to self-publish and make a success of it. Are you familiar with Glenn Ells. He’s from your area I think?

      I know there are people who make out famously but like you,I would find having to handle all the self-promoting a bit overwhelming..Don’t get me wrong you still have to self-promote. You can’t leave it all up the the publishing company.

      Yes it may be hard to get published but not impossible.

      Good luck with your stories. Let me know how things go

  6. I have never met Glenn Ells but I know of him. Sheffield Mills is a community several miles from me as I live closer to the university town of Wolfville.

    Thanks for your interest, Laura. To be sure you will hear when I do, whatever the outcome. :) Waiting is hard, but I have several other things to do, and I plan to keep working on story ideas this year. See? You have inspired me!


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