While writing Dartmoor…The Saving I researched the UK publishing industry. It seemed that I had three choices: approach mainstream publishers (either direct or through agents), approach the small specialist publishers of the fantasy genre, or self-publish.
As desirable as a contract with a mainstream publisher may be, I didn’t fancy my chances. I kept reading about the hundreds of manuscripts they receive each week – and the minute number that ever see the light of day. I really didn’t want to put myself through the long painful ritual of submission and rejection. Nor did I like the sound of having an editor re-work my book. I’d read hundreds of books in my time and I thought I knew what made a decent read.
I felt I stood a good chance of getting it published by one of the small independent publishers. There are about twenty of them specialising in the fantasy genre, but my research showed that the sales volumes achieved were disappointingly low.
Self-publishing looked the best option, but there was a further choice to be made – print-on-demand using one of the service providers, or deal with the whole process myself and have a stock of books printed. I obtained quotes from AuthorHouse, Trafford and a few others, but I just couldn’t make the mathematics work. It didn’t seem possible to acquire books at a price that would allow me to supply books to retailers at a discount of 40% (up to 60% for Amazon) and cover all the other costs of distribution.
Cheryl and I formed Moorhen Publishing and had a stock of 2,000 copies printed. We sold them all, printed a second edition and followed that with the sequel, Myrddin’s War. That first book is now on the third print run of the second edition, and the sequel isn’t far behind.
Along the way, we received enquiries from other writers keen to take the same route to publication. We have published under the Moorhen name seven books by other authors and helped a greater number along the self-publishing journey.
If you click on the Moorhen Publishing link on the right you will be able to see all of the books that we have published. As they include fantasy, autobiographies, horror, ghost stories, humour and a raunchy historical love story, you’ll find something to please you.
But I’d given myself a problem. I was back running a business and I found that progress on my third novel had ground to a halt. So, the decision was made – we have one more book in the pipeline and that will be the last print edition book we publish by other authors. I’m concentrating on my own new writing and making my existing books available as eBooks.
Rather than simply turn away all the writers who approach us in the future, I have written a guide to self-publishing that describes the process in detail. We have created a new website dedicated to the 27,000-word guide and that guide can be downloaded from either www.selfpublishingtherealstory .co.uk or from www.moorhenpublishing.co.uk .