Stevie Mach

Writer, creative, general good guy… with mild OCD

Why Self Publish?

man proof reading manuscript

Getting a Publishing Deal!

In my early days of writing, around the nineteen-eighties, I would borrow the latest ‘Artists and Writers Yearbook’ from the library, and meticulously go through the publishers’ section and make a note of possible publishers I would send out some of my writing.

Each publisher had their own methods of approach, but mainly it was to send a few typed double-spaced chapters along with a synopsis and a cover letter about why signing you up with a publishing deal would make them a great deal of money. I believe it is much the same now, but using email.

You would meticulously type and compile, and post the proffered chapters in secure packaging along with the return postage. It wasn’t good etiquette, if I remember, to post the same stuff out to more than one publisher at a time. As most publishers were probably over inundated with manuscripts from all over, and don’t give much priority to their slush pile, it could take a good few months to get a reply, which if negative, meant repeating the process with another publisher, or if positive, sending the full manuscript out for further inspection, and waiting a few months more for a decision.

This meant then, that sending stuff out and waiting for a reply, you could perhaps send the same few chapters out to probably a maximum of four publishers a year. Today, using email, it is a great saving in postage stamps and packaging, but it can still take two or three months before you get a positive or negative reply.

Patience Is Not Something to Have If Time Is Important

Keeping a record of what was sent to whom, and when, and what the reply was, and who was next in line for that particular piece of writing, became tiring pretty soon. There are writers who get a publishing deal the first time they send out a manuscript, but that is, in reality, like winning a lottery odds. Most writers struggle, and some may end up on a constant treadmill of sending and resending stuff out to publishers for years before getting a publishing deal. Many famous writers today, who are now household names, spent a great deal of effort approaching a multitude of publishers before then getting a publishing deal.

Many authors also, who do get a publishing deal, and whose book fails, are soon dropped and forgotten. A book can fail for many reasons. It may be a great book, but has not received the proper marketing and promotion. It may be a book a publisher did not see much sales potential in, but had faith in the future potential of the author and wanted to tie them in for their next creative endeavours. Or, it could be, in fact, that the book is crap and the publisher made a mistake in signing the author in the first place. Back then, publishing a book could be an expensive exercise, even for a small first run. The price of editors, cover designers, printing, storing, and delivery, all had their costs.

I quickly grew tired of this process. It wasn’t that I doubted my ability to write, or that I thought any books I read from other published authors was so much better than mine, therefore I was wasting my time even trying. It was just the time and effort it took in the whole process. I grew impatient. I stopped sending stuff out, and just concentrated on writing when I could. Probably I subconsciously thought I would be discovered sometime serendipitously in the future, who knows, but I consciously stopped sending stuff out to potential publishers.

I Was a Self-Publisher Before My Time

As time passed by, and life went on, I more or less forgot about writing for a long time. I still had boxes of printed stuff, and loads of other writing safely stored on the computer hard drive. I had decided that I would start a website (one day) and then publish everything online for the world to see. This was the idea in the back of my mind.

As time went on, and I had not returned to writing, I still had that notion, and occasionally I would have a look again at some of the stuff I had written, and then put it away again, with a promise that when I had time, I would seriously do something with it, as well as get back into the throes of writing again.

It would happen, but not for a while.

If you visit my homepage,, you will see a list of my books for sale. If you do take a chance and purchase one, if you enjoy it, please leave a review, it will be greatly appreciated.

Featured image at top of the page AI generated.


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