Self Publishing with Ben Galley
Thursday 13 October 2016 @ Goring Methodist Church Hall, Worthing
Ben is the proud author of over 10 books. As well as writing fantasy, Ben works as a self-publishing tutor and speaker, touring the UK and teaching authors how to publish their books the DIY way. He's also proud to be an ALLi advisor on crowdfunding. He's passionate about self-publishing and what it can do for authors, and thoroughly enjoys helping other to achieve goals.
Review of the meeting
Ben Galley gave us an inspirational talk on the advantages of self-publishing packed with statistics and lots of useful information. He started off by showing how much of the market share currently belongs to the self-publishing, or indie market – 39% of Amazon Kindle bestsellers and half of the top twenty bestsellers in the UK charts are indie. He also pointed out that the rise and rise of indie books wasn’t just in digital sales – 26% of printed bestsellers are also indie.
He went on to give some of the advantages of self-publishing – you earn more per book, earning up to 70% of book royalties, keeping creative control and getting paid monthly instead of quarter, half yearly or even annually with a traditional publisher. His top tip to successful self-publishing is to strive to have your book looking and reading like a traditionally published book and he advised using professionals to get to that stage.
He took us through the steps of editing your book, which he stressed were vital. He discussed the different stages of editing – with the copy/line edit, the structural and development editing phase and the final proof-reading stage. Ben suggested we also find beta readers who will be honestly critical with our material and ideally, have some knowledge of how story works. People such as experienced writers, English teachers and knowledgeable readers and reviewers. As well as going on word of mouth for finding good editors, he recommended The Literary Consultancy, Whitefox and Reedsy, where you can also find qualified and experienced cover designers. He suggested we create a mood board for our book covers to show to the designer of our choice, after studying examples of other books in the same genre we like on Amazon and Goodreads. Deviant Art is also a great site to gather inspiration.
He demystified the process of obtaining ISBNs (International Standard Book Number) for our books and recommended obtaining them in bundles of 10, which is a lot cheaper than buying them individually. You will need at least two – one for the print version and one for the ebook.
Ben then discussed the processes you need to go through getting print and ebooks ready and recommended the use of a professional formatter. He talked about how to create the metadata necessary – which is basically the information about the book which appears below the cover in the Kindle store, consisting of the title, subtitle, author name, publisher, ISBN, description, dimensions, prices and multiple currencies. He also talked about the two main print-on-demand options, which are Ingram Spark and CreateSpace and explained why he preferred Ingram Spark, being cheaper and more flexible. He then gave us a quick rundown of how to produce an audio version of your book, using ACX, a service provided and owned by Amazon, who also own Audible who are chief provider of audio books in this country.
We were all slightly reeling by the end – but he also has a book on self-publishing, although he acknowledged the information on print books is slightly outdated, owing to the demise of Lightning Source and Ingram Spark taking over. It was one of the most useful, informative discussions I’ve ever attended at the Club – and Ben handled all the questions with a fund of expert knowledge, as he is now branching out into self-publishing children’s pictures and has recently brought out his first graphic novel, which he brought along to show us.
The evening was brought to a memorable end by Caron Garrod reading her winning entry to the Novel Opening Competition – a wryly funny and fluent extract at a graveside in the pouring rain – and received her Certificate and trophy. All in all, it was a really wonderful meeting.