Friday 23 February 2018

Fifty shades of green - now Irish authors self-publish in search of fame and fortune

Jame Dornan and Dakota Johnson
Jame Dornan and Dakota Johnson

IF YOU'RE an aspiring author with visions of becoming the next EL James or Stephen King, then self-publishing could be the key to best-selling success.

More and more of the country's writing talents are now turning to the 'DIY' approach to book publishing.

Nearly 460,000 titles were self-published in 2013 across the globe, up fivefold in five years, according to the research group Bowker.

Self-publishing companies in Ireland are recording 20pc increases in business year-on-year.

The explosion in interest in going solo is being put down to online eBooks becoming more widely read - making the process much more straightforward and affordable. It can now be done from an author's own home with just a few clicks on a computer.

Some notable blockbusters, including EL James' 'Fifty Shades' saga, began life as self-published titles.

Andrew Haworth, from website, says an "end to the stigma" associated with self-published books has led to more authors coming to him.

"Most people who come to us will have already written their books and are trying to get it out in the public domain.

"In the past, there was some stigma in that it was for authors who couldn't find a publisher. Some authors who come to us have tried to get their book published by a publishing house and not got there.

"It doesn't mean their book is not good, it just means the publishing house needs to sell a few thousand copies to break even."

Other authors, like Marie Donnellan, who published her cookbook 'Back to Basics' in aid of the Rape Crisis Network Ireland, want to keep control of their book - everything from the number of chapters to the design of the front cover.

There is also the important matter of royalties, with most self-publishing firms taking only the costs associated with printing.

Marie also developed her idea as an eBook, and was able to sell 1,000 copies for €10, with €7 from each sale going directly to the charity.

"I wanted to get it made as cheaply as possible to get the highest return for the charity," she said. "Making it an eBook opened it up and effectively makes it available anywhere in the world."

Mother-of-two Orla Kelly, from Cork, went straight online, teaching herself how to use Amazon's step-by-step self-publish programme.

In the space of a year, she has released seven books and has now begun her own business offering her services to aspiring authors considering the DIY route.

"Authors are coming to me who may have a book only in hard copy and want to put it online. Self-publishing makes this very easy to do."

More information on self-publishing is available at or you can email

Irish Independent

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