BLOG: Adventures in Self Publishing: Part 1 – Blogs, apologies and a major change of plan

It has been a strange last few weeks. My writing career has gone through some major trials and tribulations but I am now back on track. Before I explain more I feel that I need to apologise for breaking my promise to blog more regularly (it has been a while since ny last entry), but I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me on this. So what’s my excuse this time? 

Basically the summer hols are never a good time for me and work as I am practically a single parent ever since my wife got ill (dementia) and so my two sons dominate my time whilst they are off school. But hey! We all have our crosses to bear, don’t we? 

A legitimate excuse?

The main reason for my tardiness is my new thriller. Kingmaker is finally back from the editors so I have been finishing the manuscript and getting it tidied up for publishing. I was originally thinking of going back to trying to find an agent (I tried this a few years ago but got little back for my efforts), but I dropped that idea as the good old days of easily getting a contract with one of the Big 5 are now long gone. The rise of self publishing has made traditional publishing very hard to break into! 

Third-party self publishers

So I then took a look at self-publishing through a reputable third party (if you can’t beat them, join them!). 

I have been flirting with Rowanvale Books and Matador’s Troubador imprint for a while – they have a good reputation in the UK where I need them to be based – and I was on the verge of getting an up to date quote from both and just pressing the button. Easy, simple, hassle-free. What could possibly go wrong?

Sadly when I ran the numbers again and compared them to my business plan and what I wanted to achieve with my first book, the numbers just didn’t stack up. I would have to sell thousands just to break even. In this market? For a first book? Mmmmmm. That’s a big risk. So it was back to the drawing board!

The terrifying plunge into DIY self-publishing 

So I made a life-changing decision. Kingmaker is going to be self published by my own imprint instead – and that is how Three Assassins Press ( was born! 

I hope you like the logo. You may notice that I have also made as my main website (if you are reading this you will see that my WordPress site now uses this new address). 
So, I have my imprint now and my manuscript is nearly ready. So the rest is just uploading everything to Amazon KDP (in progress), ordering my ISBNs from Nielsen (done), registering Kingmaker against the first number (to do this week) and creating my cover. Then to tell the world!

Book covers

Now I am sure you have all read that your cover is key to sales. I looked around to find a good prepare cover but the unusual setting for Kingmaker (WW2 Norway) made it impossible to find anything suitable. I then looked at custom covers but again the costs were prohibitive. Luckily I did a lot of graphic design back when I was in marketing (mainly using Adobe Indesign) so I thought I could do as good a job as many of the less expensive cover design companies. Easy! So I thought I would just buy the software and do it myself. WRONGO! Sadly Adobe – in their infinite wisdom (i.e.greed) have decided to put Indesign on the cloud now instead of selling the software on disc, and now charge a crazy annual fee for using it! No way am I paying THAT!

Find a solution

So the solution was to find a freeware alternative – I settled on the favourite three of Inkscape (vector graphics – similar to Draw), Gimphoto (similar to Adobe Photoshop) and Scribus (the Indesign alternative for creating print ready documents and pdfs). They all look and feel pretty similar to the expensive “professional” software from Adobe et al, but are free to download and have the added benefit of being more ethical in their freeware spirit. I have also signed up with as they have loads of excellent images and vector graphics to use. Sorted!

The endless “to do” list

So there are now many jobs to do this week to get Kingmaker alive at last (starting with the Kindle ebook, then Smashwords for Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Sony, then finally doing the paperback as print on demand via Amazon’s Createspace and using Ingram’s Lightning Source for global distribution). Phew! 

So hopefully that explains my absence, but I hope you will excuse me if I disappear again for a while as I think I am going to be rather busy…

Until next time. Take care!



2 thoughts on “BLOG: Adventures in Self Publishing: Part 1 – Blogs, apologies and a major change of plan

  1. Sounds like a great plan – going through the same motions myself right now – my book won’t be released until November. There’s so much to do but hopefully, at the end of the tunnel it might feel fulfilling – I hope so. And I have to say, from my friends’ experiences of traditional publishing, they seem to have to do most of the marketing. Sorry to hear the news of your wife – that’s a tough issue and I wish you all best wishes & the very best with your new book when it’s released. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the kind words again, Suzy. I hope your book goes well and you manage to get everything done in time – I’m sure it will all work out. It’s amazing how even trad publishing puts the onus on the author, yet still demands the lions share of the profits! All the best with your book – I look forwards to hearing more about it.


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