The artisan author

Photo by SusanFleming on Pixabay

There was a great discussion on Threads the other day about the cost of publishing. It was a very large discussion, and many people took part it, and it was like a multiheaded hydra that went in many directions, not all of them helpful.

The discussion started when one author posted a statement that you should not spend any money on self publishing books, and do everything yourself until you can afford to pay for someone.

Needless to say, a lot of people jumped on that, saying that editing and cover design is absolutely essential. I would agree, but there are ways to economise on the cost.

But since I have already spoken about this so many times, I’m now going into a completely different direction, because of something that somebody said on one of these discussions.

The premise under which many people publish is that your book should be indistinguishable from a book published by traditional publishers.

To be honest, I have broken that premise. My books do not look like those published by traditional publishers, because their fiction books do not have illustrations, as some of my recent books do.

But this person said that if an author does everything by themselves and as a result, the product might be a little bit different, and maybe a little bit rough around the edges, that is part of the appeal.

And that argument really struck home.

Being unique and quirky.

The self-made artisan author.

So much of our entertainment that we consume every day has been fed through a meat grinder to the point where everything looks the same.

When you buy something from a main retailer, you don’t really know who benefits most. Probably not the person who made the thing. When you watch something on Netflix, you know that your money is going to the main corporations.
But when you buy a book on Kickstarter, or you watch a TikToks made by a farmer about farm life or farm cooking, or you buy pottery at the markets, you know that most of your money will go straight to the creator.

The Kickstarter book will probably look different from a mainstream book because it has illustrations, or a ribbon. The TikTok videos will have occasions where a dog barges into the kitchen or starts dry-humping a hay bale.

The four pottery plates will all be different.

This is part of the appeal.

When people buy books from you, they may not even expect them to be like a book from a publisher. This is why we are publishing and creating things, because we are not part of the great meatgrinder of content creation. We are individual people.

Anyway, I thought this was a very interesting point that this person made.

If you want to see what I mean by an artisan book, the retail version of Dragon Soup are plain-Jane books, but the version on my website is illustrated.

Dragon Soup

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