11 thoughts on “Guest post: Self-Publishing – The Cuckoo in the Publisher’s Nest by Annie Ireson

  1. Yvonne Hertzberger says:

    Interesting journey. I am so glad it worked out well for you. One thing puzzles me, though, and that is the issie with KDP publishing. I published my books on KDP with their automatic system in 15 minutes. No one is more computer-phobic than I. Now, I did start with a clean MS in the correct format. I have see others say how complicated it is. But they were using the guidelines instead of trusting the actual program. I wonder what makes it so different.It’s making me a little paranoid about getting my third book up as i will not have the same person getting the MS ready.


    • annieye says:

      Hello Yvonne. It’s lovely to meet you here on Morgen’s blog. I’m afraid I was one of the other people who read all the guidelines from beginning to end. Yes, you are right it was problems with the manuscript that caused most of the hassle I experienced. The KDP program requires a specific HTML format and my laptop is quite old. I need to update, really, but I am quite attached to the old girl, with its keys worn shiny and naked by much over-use! When I was ‘saving-as’ to prepare the Word document for uploading, the computer wasn’t saving as the more up to date version, as required by KDP – hence the gremlins. I sent the document to my work pc, saved it as the correct version and one of the guys in the IT section showed me how to strip out all the Word formatting before I uploaded to KDP.

      So it was quite a simple problem in the end.

      Good luck with the third novel, Yvonne.


  2. Jane Risdon says:

    Wonderful tale Anne, some of which I am familiar with as a fellow contributor to the anthology. I have been thinking about self-publishing and the various methods and downloaded the info from Amazon/Kindle which I do eye from time to time, get depressed and despondent, then get on with writing instead. As someone who has worked with Music Publishing/Recording Contracts for 30 plus years I recommend legal advice every time, even if the publisher is kosher and well known, their terms need to be negotiated. A signed contract is a compromise on all sides – you meet in the middle with something all parties can live with. I look at contracts for people all the time just because I do know what should and should not be in them and so can help with basic information before the expense of a lawyer is clocked up. In Music it is about £450-£500 per hour! In the end it is worth it because of what trying to get out of a bad contract can cost you in the end! I can draw them up myself and then get the lawyers to check them (Music contracts) over to save money but when you are new to contracts and the business (authors) I would always say get it looked at. I shall no doubt be wading through the KDP again soon as some of my work is going to suit self-publishing, though I do have an agent wanting three chapters of Ms Birdsong Investigates…if only I could get it completed and drum up the nerve to send it. I know you will sell box loads Anne and wish you success with The White Cuckoo and with your next book. Same to you Yvonne Hertzberger. Morgen, thanks again and all the best with your own books too.


    • annieye says:

      Hello Jane. I think Yvonne is right (see comment above), and you need to trust the KDP program. Once I started the process, having used the Kindle Previewer, it did really take only about 15 minutes, as Yvonne says.

      You are quite right about the legal advice, and I was so glad I sought it before signing. Music contracts must be very complicated.

      Publishing a book is a long-term project, with publication just the start of the process. I am continuing with marketing and promotion and am about to go into the medium-term, having completing the short-term marketing plan I drew up. I was so relieved to recoup my outlay, though. Although I could afford to lose it without causing me too much financial pain, it was a lot of money to stake on other people buying the paperback.

      I wish you all the very best with Mrs Birdsong and your other writing projects, Jane. x


  3. morgenbailey says:

    Yay, my no.1 / 2 and… 4? commenters of 2012. 🙂

    Great to hear from you ladies – I’ve forwarded on your comments…

    It’s Annie’s first time here so I’m delighted she had the great feedback.



    • annieye says:

      Thank you Morgen, and for your kind comments at the end of the post. It was great to finally meet you at my book launch and to have a chat at the end. We really must meet up again soon! All the very best with your novels and I hope you have loads of sales. x


  4. morgenbailey says:

    Thank you very much ladies, and Annie especially for taking so much time compiling this post – I know how busy you are, and I look forward to seeing you again… virtually and in the flesh!


  5. Karen Robbins says:

    I’ve self-published several times now. The first when it was really frowned upon but like you, I was discouraged and wanted my book in the hands of readers. I found that the most valuable thing was learning the process (my first was before e-books). I understood the publishing business a little better after that. My latest book, In A Pickle, is through a small publishing house that uses Amazon POD. It makes it a little difficult to get them into bookstores because the mark-up does not allow for much discount or the opportunity to buy back books that haven’t sold. I’ve been happy with the help I got from the publishers though in producing the book even if I am mostly responsible for the marketing. It’s a little like self-pubbing but I didn’t have to do all the formatting and I didn’t have to invest any money except for what I have done to market the books. Thanks for telling your story. Looks like this business is about the same on both sides of the pond.


    • annieye says:

      Hello Karen. Lovely to meet you and congratulations on your self-publishing success. I love the title of your latest book! I had no idea about the publishing process, other than through articles I had read on writing blogs and in writing magazines. You are right about needing to learn the process, and I am still learning. I didn’t realise Amazon did POD until after I had published on KDP, although I don’t regret using the company I eventually chose to print the paperbacks, which was fairly local and had they not offered free delivery as a special offer, I could have collected them, thus saving on carriage costs. I am approaching marketing cautiously at the moment. I don’t want to hack people off on Twitter and Facebook by pushing my book too much. I am finding that the local connections worked really well, but I am now going to cast the net a little bit wider – perhaps throughout Northamptonshire- as well as doing a free promotion on Amazon for a few days.

      I have certainly changed my mind about self-publishing and have a lot of respect for authors, like yourself, who have successfully self-published quality novels.


  6. Joe Jenkins says:

    Well, it is good to see that you are still working on your fiction.

    Having read various blog posts about us disappearing and other fantasies, I couldn’t go any further without making comment, and will be making these comments in answer to what has been said about us hear. First of all, we haven’t gone anywhere, as can be seen from Sylv’s website at http://www.sylv-jenkins.com.

    A quote by Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Angel) seems fitting at this stage:

    The best lies are based on the truth, at least in part

    Yes we did ask you if you had a full length novel and we told you that you would be our first author signing up to then company. We also told you that we were planning on having six books published on our first year of operation.

    However, at no point did you ask us for a copy of our business plan and, to be honest, when do authors request a copy of a publisher’s business plan? I am now working with a publisher that has been in existence for almost two hundred years, and nobody there has heard anything about it, in fact a couple of people, when questioned, burst into fits of laughter.

    You then go on to say ‘Authors beware!’, and your first point is to have the contract checked over by the Society of Authors. This is good advice, and you know all about this because you did have it checked out by them, and after a couple of changes, you were happy with the contract we gave you.

    Ah yes, the marketing plan. The one which was agreed to be shown to you prior to publication by a set date, and we were no longer working together before this date arrived, so what is your point on this? I’m sure you accidentally missed out that information when writing this post.

    Before signing the contract, we discussed certain things that would be asked on the editing side. Once of these was the use of double and single quotes. We explained this and you agreed to the reasons given by us. Different publishers have different ways of doing this, for us it was always double quotes for speech, as it could get confusing with lines such as:

    ‘I didn’t know why I hadn’t seen the contract’s point.’ Said Arthur’s son.

    Lots of single quotes there, but our way was like this:

    “I didn’t know why I hadn’t seen the contract’s point” Said Arthur’s son.

    It is clearly seen where the speech was.

    You wanted to cry when you received our email? That’s strange, because we did this after you had said you weren’t happy working with us. This being just after you had joined the mob mentality of accusing us of stealing from people who were dying. We had told everybody when we would be making the payment from the short story collection and, if you’d like to check with them, that is exactly when they received it.

    In fact, this was largely why we decided to stop publishing, we were putting in many long hours and we told that what we were doing was terrible and useless, of course when others tried only two books were sold. Why would we want to do this?

    We had already spent money on your marketing your book, and provided you with your full website, even though this was not a provision in the contract. Therefore, I do not understand why you have included various lies and omissions within this post.


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