A Story-line for Writers

Before I come to this “Story-line” for writers, I want to purposefully digress slightly and talk about an excellent TV series on Netflix called “Black Mirror”. It is relevant (honest!).

Black Mirror is a series without a unifying story. It is in effect a set of stand alone stories. Each story is different and could be put out as-is without any of the others. Each story stands alone on its own merits.

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Libraries and Public Lending Rights

If you place your book (or your book is placed) into one or more public libraries in the UK then you can register for an annual payment under the Public Lending Rights scheme (known as the PLR – see here).

Public Lending Rights is a long standing UK government scheme. It recompenses authors for loans of their work from public libraries. While the income from Public Lending Rights will not set the world on fire, it is a rather satisfying confirmation that your work is getting noticed and read. I believe most other countries run very similar schemes.

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The Tyranny of Amazon Ratings

Authors all crave Amazon ratings. A string of good ratings really can establish a book. This is especially true for ebooks. An ebook with an initial bad rating will die a sudden death. If the first rating is bad then it can kill free downloads. Let alone sales.

Most readers do not give a rating. Even those who really enjoy or significantly dislike the work usually just let it pass. Most of those who do give a rating do so because the book has had an impact upon them. They try to fairly judge the work on what they got for their money. Which is fair enough and what we all want.

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Buying an ISBN in the UK

There are many head winds facing a self publisher. One of these is the cost of buying an ISBN in the UK. The price structure for buying ISBN’s strongly favours big companies while severely penalizing small publishers.

If you are publishing a single book and so just want one ISBN, you will get hit the hardest of all.

This is the price structure for buying ISBN’s in the UK as of today.

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Niche Non-Fiction: Ebook or Paperback?

Nobody is going to get rich writing niche non-fiction books on local history or other similar narrow niche topics. But if you can get a some sales it will give you a great feeling. You will have provided a useful resource to the community.

If you are lucky, writing a niche non-fiction book might allow you to buy a few beers. But you most certainly should not give up the day job!  So if you want to maximise the number of beers what should you publish? An ebook? A paperback? Or both?

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