Author Rant, Dark Side of Publishing

The truth behind the glitter? … A look at the dark side of the publishing world #5 #WritingCommunity #AmWriting #AmEditing #CreatingPerfection

As an editor and book blogger, I spend all my time talking to authors. One thing that’s shocked me recently is the number of conversations I’ve had about the dark side of the publishing world.

Not just the stuff in the public eye, but what goes on for the authors on a personal level.

The world has a certain idea of what an author’s life is like and as such, authors feel the need to keep up a pretence to the public.

It’s with this in mind that I’ve started this feature to give authors a safe place to talk about the things that go on behind the scenes.

The good, the bad, and the ugly.

I want to show people that they aren’t alone, that all the fears and hates and things that terrify them about this world do the same to others, we just don’t talk about it properly.

These posts are anonymous and I have no way of identifying the author.

If you want to rant … follow this link.

*The thoughts of the author are not the thoughts of Creating Perfection*

Now it’s over to ranter #5 …

Author, tell us a little about your publishing journey so far …

My first book was published about 7 years ago. It was a contributory contract, but worth it for the happy, skippy dance when I received the ‘Want to see more.’ Being very naïve, it also taught me a lot about how the publishing world works, and I’m still learning something new every day. My latest books have all been self-published.

Now rant …


Still perceived as the poor relation, but times are changing and the big five are no longer the be all and end all. The pros are that anyone can self-publish, the cons are that anyone can self-publish. Learning the trade. There are so many ‘How To’ books, courses and videos about marketing, publishing, formatting, gaining followers, and achieving a best seller, it’s easy to become side-lined into concentrating on what you should be doing, instead of actually writing. Even traditional publishers expect the author to take on responsibility for marketing, which is something I hadn’t expected.


Authors need the mighty bookseller, even if it provides them with a powerful dictatorship. Technology has made readership international, but it’s no longer possible to ‘copy and paste’ a review from the UK sites to the dot com sites. To try to get their book known, authors need to interact with social media, book bloggers and writing groups. If someone from these groups leaves a review, the bots can decide they are ‘friends and family,’ even if you have never met them.


The expectation of some readers who expect free/99p/99c books as a given, whilst thinking nothing of paying three or four times that much for the coffee they’re drinking. From a paperback cost of £4.99 or £5.99, even at a royalty rate of 70%, the amount paid is only around £1 for what could easily be a year’s work. From that has to be deducted the expense of proper editing, book cover design, and various other costs including tax. Apart from the select few, most authors aren’t millionaires. Why do we do it? Because there are stories to be told.

Local support and libraries

The reluctance of some small independent bookshops to take a chance on stocking unknown local authors, even on a sale or return basis. Knowing libraries are underfunded, I recently donated copies of two of my books to my local library. I understand they need to be read and categorised, but rather than being appreciated, was made to feel they were doing me a favour, as if I was begging. Apparently, they will be sent off to a central depot, and could end up anywhere, losing the local connection. I haven’t received the ‘thanks, but no thanks,’ email to come and collect them, so perhaps someone, somewhere might be reading and enjoying them.

Huge thanks again for sharing, Anonymous Author.

Readers, do let me know your thoughts on these issues.

I hope the rant helped x

2 thoughts on “The truth behind the glitter? … A look at the dark side of the publishing world #5 #WritingCommunity #AmWriting #AmEditing #CreatingPerfection”

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