Faber Session 18 – Will Atkinson

It was a lovely sunny day here in Kent when I got on the train….unfortunately, by the time I got to London it was pissing down lol ๐Ÿ˜‰

But I didn’t let the weather deter me from my cake, cheesecake to be precise…

And a quick stop off in Daunt Books in Marylebone High Street ๐Ÿ™‚


So I arrived at class having lost a button on my coat, with a brolley that I stuck in Fabers bin because it had blown inside out so many times and wet feet because my dolly shoes (a totally impractical choice of footwear) sprung a leek! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Today’s class was a session with Faber’s Sales and Marketing Director, Will Atkinson who talked about the changing face of book selling and publishing. Here are some of my notes:

The reasons a book sells (in statistical order)
1. Recommendation
2. You like the author
3. Bookshop display
4. Publicity & Reviews

If someone famous Tweets about a book they’ve recently read a publisher can sell up to 200,000 copies from that one recommendation alone.

More people than ever are reading and writing.

15% of all books bought in the UK last year were self published.

Self publishing via Kindle is not a bad thing to do, but be aware that you are in murky company, lumped in with badly written and unedited work from others.

Publishers notice eBooks that are doing well.

eBooks can be a way to promote yourself even with a traditional publishing deal.

There is a huge element of luck as to whether your published book is a success, but, the quality of the book will out.

The publishing industry is in difficulty, but at the moment, eBooks are making up for that.

The Richard & Judy Bookclub has had a major impact on summer book buying in the UK. Those on their annual list doing very well, the other authors suffering because of it.

Will gave a very positive view on the publishing industry, which was nice to hear. He also said that if a man on the street hears about a book, is he going to get in his car, drive to the local high street, park up, find a Waterstones or WHSmiths, go in and find the book? No, he’s much more likely to get his phone or iPad out and order it on Amazon. A fair point indeed.

Hmmmmm, some stuff to think about…I was convinced that I didn’t want to go down the eBook route, that I wanted a traditional publishing deal, but now I’m not so sure. I’m liking the idea of using the eBook idea as a form of promotion, I can see that working…..perhaps some short stories?

What do you guys think? Tempted? Those of you who have self published on Kindle, what made you decide to do that rather than go to a publisher?

35 thoughts on “Faber Session 18 – Will Atkinson

  1. Honestly? Then I regretted my impatience, but felt it was too late to take it back. I just fixed (or tried to) what I botched, and considered it a good exercise for me. This is what I did wrong, this is what I’d do different or better. I’m considering traditional pubbing for longer things I’ve written, but haven’t made any moves yet for a variety of reasons.


  2. I’ve been skeptical about self-publishing and e-books, but I think we as writers have to adapt to the changing world of publishing. I have a friend who recently got an e-book deal available on Amazon. She is using that as a platform to get her name out there. It’s just like blogging and social media. You can check her book out here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AW4DDUS


    • I was exactly the same Cheryl, until I heard Will say that using it to promote yourself is a good idea. Very seriously considering that now….even if it’s just half a dozen short stories…more work lol ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Thanks honey, will heck it out!



  3. I haven’t published any books, but have been reading a lot about self-publishing and would consider it. I like the aspect of having more control over your work, easier venue to publish(not against hard work, just seems publishing the regular route is very much based on personal bias of those considering a book), and I personally enjoy reading books on my kindle. All that to be said, I do still like to read paper books very much, and if I’m going to spend a bit much on a book, then I’d rather have the paper version.


    • Yes Sabrina, that does seem to be why a lot of writers go down the eBook route. But, I’ve seen how much publicity and promotion you need to do which puts me off a little bit. Not the work as such, the idea of blowing my own trumpet *shudders* I’m useless at that lol



  4. I am aiming at self publishing via kindle etc. for a couple of reasons. My fiction length is at the moment about 30,000 words which is nowhere near a novel but also as Creativityorcrazy said, it gives us, the writer more control of our work ๐Ÿ™‚


      • At the moment I’m considering submitting my short stories to the various magazines and doing my novellas as self pub. But when I am writing 80,000+ stories then maybe go the traditional route.

        60,000 is not too bad a length. In science fiction the writers like Asimov and Bradnury tended to write about that length book. But I think all books may have been about that length in those days x


      • I heard an agent give a talk recently saying that the man in the street prefers a shorter book, they haven’t got time to read a huge tome! But we’re still to,d to submit around 80,000 *sighs* ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

        That’s a great idea honey, good luck! Xx


  5. Ebook publishing is something I am seriously considering, but as said, if you’re doing it you have to make sure you do it well. It’s a difficult an rollercoaster journey, this one we choose towards publication!


    • I think if I did do it Rebecca, I’d pay to have it edited and formatted by a professional. It might take longer to get my money back, but then, I don’t really write for the money, and even with a traditional publishing deal most debut novelists don’t make a lot of money.

      You’re right there! ๐Ÿ˜‰



  6. I publish my books as eBooks and print books. I use CreateSpace (an Amazon company) for the print books. I’ve been happy with their quality and timeliness. I have found that I sell more eBooks, but I want the print books out there also for the many people who want to hold a book, not an eReader. I prefer print books except when I am traveling. I went the self-published route because I did not want to deal with the bureaucracy that goes along with working with publishers. If one actually agrees to publish your book, it usually takes about two years to do; you usually give up your rights to the material; and you receive around 5% royalty as opposed to 35% or 70% (Amazon) or 80% (Smashwords). Unless the publishing business model changes, I’m going to stick with self-publishing.


    • Yes, I keep hearing about CreateSpace Richard, you’d recommend that route then?

      Hmmmm, yes, valid points and from what I can gather, something the publishers are all VERY aware of. Which is why you so often hear of them targeting ‘successful’ indie authors, trying to get them to sign publishing deals.



  7. Really interesting reading today Vikki. Cake looked scrummy and I had the same problem with the weather. No dolly shoes or umbrella issue (in fact no umbrella at all!) but totally dressed in the wrong gear by the time I got to the shops. ๐Ÿ™‚


  8. I just finished reading ‘How Do You Decide? Self Publication vs. Traditional Publication’ (Rachelle Gardner) and have become fairly certain traditional publication is for me. Granted, I realize the book was written by a literary agent, but the points she makes about traditional publication having access to a larger market made me realize that is something that I’m after. I also enjoy writing far more than marketing–although I’m prepared to do some (social media is fun, don’t you agree? ๐Ÿ˜‰ )
    And, personally, I think I will always prefer the paper version of a book.
    Love that slice of cheesecake you’ve got there! ๐Ÿ™‚


  9. Thanks for loads of valuable info, which I think is quite heartening for indie publishers and ebooks! I’d love to know how one gets on the Richard and Judy list though – any indie pubbed books on this??!! I agree with comments about author control, which I would say is the most significant and satisfying reason for going indie. I am a hybrid author, with a trad background and some work still trad pub (but much of it not available in English language) and this is the reason I decided to get my backlist out there for Kindle. I donate all royalties from my Matty Horse and Pony trilogy for teens to Redwings Horse Sanctuary and the cat novel, Coming Home, to Cats Protection, and it gives me enormous pleasure to be able to use the books to fundraise for charity. I simply could not have afforded the financial risk or outlay to indie pub print books but going the ebook route makes the process a lot simpler, quicker, more manageable and do-able. Yes, the royalty % via Amazon is vastly higher than the trad route, BUT you have to work very hard indeed to sell the books. I see both sides of the argument, having experienced both.


  10. I’m seriously considering the possibility of self-publishing my first novel as an e-book. It’s not something I want to shop around while trying query Novel #2, but I still want people to read it!


  11. Vikki, like the latest trend in cars … I begin to think of myself as a hybrid. I will continue to work towards traditional publishing, will also do some of my short story series myself and will love combining the technology of the e-revolution to both. While publishing is in flux, we as authors are actually better off now than ever before. Explore all options is the key ๐Ÿ™‚


    • Good for you Florence! I’m beginning to feel myself drawn the same way ๐Ÿ™‚

      Oh, definitely! Although when are agents and publishers gunna wake up to the fact that it’s an authors market and start treating people a little bit better? ๐Ÿ˜ฆ



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