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'I'm just rolling the dice here. But it's a no-risk gamble' - adventures in the universe of self-publishing

Keen to avoid the 'former novelist' tag, Darragh McManus is revisiting his old manuscripts and preparing to release six novels as e-books

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Upload: Eoin Coveney’s cover artwork for Red Raven, one of several novels that Darragh McManus is self-publishing

Upload: Eoin Coveney’s cover artwork for Red Raven, one of several novels that Darragh McManus is self-publishing

There is a Light and it Never Goes Out by Darragh McManus

There is a Light and it Never Goes Out by Darragh McManus

Rolling the dice: Darragh McManus

Rolling the dice: Darragh McManus

Pretend We're Dead by Darragh McManus

Pretend We're Dead by Darragh McManus

The Driving Force by Darragh McManus

The Driving Force by Darragh McManus

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Upload: Eoin Coveney’s cover artwork for Red Raven, one of several novels that Darragh McManus is self-publishing

You won't often see Kenny Rogers quoted in a piece on publishing, but his most famous lyrics have become something of a guiding principle for one author at least: myself. You gotta know when to fold 'em, Kenny sang, and especially, know when to walk away. As an author, I get it.

Since 2007, I've had four books brought out by "traditional" publishers: two crime novels, a young adult story and a humorous non-fiction about GAA. This actually isn't bad, all told: many writers never see their books in print, and many more never get past a debut. Even with minuscule sales, four-times published is relatively successful.

I've completed a further seven books, though (plus a few more with opening chapters, extensive notes, plot skeletons and so on). I've sold none of them to publishers. At this stage - my last was out in 2014 - it's increasingly unlikely that I will. Four from 11 isn't a great strike rate; my inner Kenny Rogers has been insisting, for a while now, that it's time to walk away.


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